Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by degeneration and loss of neurons and synapses throughout the brain, causing the progressive decline in cognitive function leading to dementia. No effective treatment is currently available. Nerve growth factor (NGF) therapy has been
proposed as a potential treatment of preventing degeneration of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in AD. In a previous study, AD patient's own fibroblasts genetically modified to produce NGF were transplanted directly into the brain and protected cholinergic neurons from degeneration
and improved cognitive function in AD patients. In the present study, human neural stem cells (NSCs) are used in place of fibroblasts to deliver NGF in ibotenic acid-induced learning-deficit rats. Intrahippocampal injection of ibotenic acid caused severe neuronal loss, resulting in learning
and memory deficit. NGF protein released by F3.NGF human NSCs in culture medium is 10-fold over the control F3 naive NSCs at 1.2 µg/106 cells/day. Overexpression of NGF in F3.NGF cells induced improved survival of NSCs from cytotoxic agents H2O2, Aβ,
or ibotenic acid in vitro. Intrahippocampal transplantation of F3.NGF cells was found to express NGF and fully improved the learning and memory function of ibotenic acid-challenged animals. Transplanted F3.NGF cells were found all over the brain and differentiated into neurons and astrocytes.
The present study demonstrates that human NSCs overexpressing NGF improve cognitive function of learning-deficit model mice.
Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.