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Open Access Restoration of Intracortical and Thalamocortical Circuits After Transplantation of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Into the Ischemic Brain of Mice

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Transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) provides a promising regenerative medicine for stroke. Whether BMSC therapy could repair ischemia-damaged neuronal circuits and recover electrophysiological activity has largely been unknown. To address this issue, BMSCs were implanted into the ischemic barrel cortex of adult mice 1 and 7 days after focal barrel cortex stroke. Two days after the first transplantation (3 days after stroke), the infarct volume determined by TTC staining was significantly smaller in BMSC-treated compared to vehicle-treated stroke mice. The behavioral corner test showed better long-term recovery of sensorimotor function in BMSC-treated mice. Six weeks poststroke, thalamocortical slices were prepared and neuronal circuit activity in the peri-infarct region of the barrel cortex was determined by extracellular recordings of evoked field potentials. In BMSC-transplanted brain slices, the ischemia-disrupted intracortical activity from layer 4 to layer 2/3 was noticeably recovered, and the thalamocortical circuit connection was also partially restored. In contrast, much less and slower recovery was seen in control animals of barrel cortex stroke. Immunohistochemical staining disclosed that the density of neurons, axons, and blood vessels in the peri-infarct region was significantly higher in BMSC-treated mice, accompanied with enhanced local blood flow recovery. Western blotting showed that BMSC treatment increased the expression of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the peri-infarct region. Moreover, the expression of the axonal growth associated protein-43 (GAP-43) was markedly increased, whereas the axonal growth inhibiting proteins ROCK II and NG2 were suppressed in the BMSC-treated brains. BMSC transplantation also promoted directional migration and survival of doublecortin (DCX)-positive neuroblasts in the peri-infarct region. The present investigation thus provides novel evidence that BMSC transplantation has the potential to repair the ischemia-damaged neural networks and restore lost neuronal connections. The recovered circuit activity likely contributes to the improved sensorimotor function after focal ischemic stroke and BMSC transplantation.
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Keywords: Barrel cortex ischemic stroke; Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs); Doublecortin (DCX); Evoked field potential; Neuronal circuit; Thalamocortical slices

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-11-05

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  • 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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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