We investigated the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) on the function of transplanted adipose stem cells (ASCs) and the combined effect of EE and ASC transplantation on neurobehavioral function in an animal model of chronic hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain injury. HI brain damage
was induced in 7-day-old mice by unilateral carotid artery ligation and exposure to hypoxia (8% O2 for 90 min). At 6 weeks of age, the mice were randomly injected with either ASCs or PBS into the striatum and were randomly assigned to either EE or standard cages (SC), comprising
ASC-EE (n=18), ASC-SC (n=19), PBS-EE (n=12), PBS-SC (n=17), and untreated controls (n=23). Rotarod, forelimb-use asymmetry, and grip strength tests were performed to evaluate neurobehavioral function. The fate of transplanted cells and the levels of endogenous
neurogenesis, astrocyte activation, and paracrine factors were also measured. As a result, EE and ASC transplantation synergistically improved rotarod latency, forelimb-use asymmetry, and grip strength compared to those of the other groups. The number of engrafted ASCs and βIII-tubulin+
neurons derived from the transplanted ASCs was significantly higher in mice in EE than those in SC. EE and ASC transplantation also synergistically increased BrdU+βIII-tubulin+ neurons, GFAP+ astrocytic density, and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) level
but not the level of CS-56+ glial scarring in the striatum. In conclusion, EE and ASC transplantation synergistically improved neurobehavioral functions. The underlying mechanisms of this synergism included enhanced repair processes such as higher engraftment of the transplanted ASCs, increased endogenous neurogenesis and astrocytic activation coupled with upregulation of FGF2.
Department and Research Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Publication date: September 11, 2013
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