Intra-Arterial Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells in Ischemic Stroke
A Pilot Clinical Trial
Background and Purpose—Bone marrow mononuclear cell (BM-MNC) intra-arterial transplantation improves recovery in experimental models of ischemic stroke. We aimed to assess the safety, feasibility, and biological effects of autologous BM-MNC transplantation in patients with stroke.
Methods—A single-blind (outcomes assessor) controlled Phase I/II trial was conducted in patients with middle cerebral artery stroke. Autologous BM-MNCs were injected intra-arterially between 5 and 9 days after stroke. Follow-up was done for up to 6 months and blood samples were collected for biological markers. The primary outcome was safety and feasibility of the procedure. The secondary outcome was improvement in neurological function.
Results—Ten cases (BM-MNC-treated) and 10 control subjects (BM-MNC-nontreated) were consecutively included. Mean National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale before the procedure was 15.6. Mean BM-MNCs injected were 1.59×108. There was no death, stroke recurrence, or tumor formation during follow-up, although 2 cases had an isolate partial seizure at 3 months. After transplantation, higher plasma levels of beta nerve growth factor (β-nerve growth factor) were found compared with control subjects (P=0.02). There were no significant differences in neurological function at 180 days. A trend to positive correlation between number of CD34+ cells injected and Barthel Index was found (r=0.56, P=0.09).
Conclusions—Intra-arterial BM-MNC transplantation in subacute ischemic stroke is feasible and seems to be safe. Larger randomized trials are needed to confirm the safety and elucidate the efficacy of BM-MNC transplantation.
- Received April 1, 2012.
- Revision received May 13, 2012.
- Accepted May 18, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.