Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Attenuates Brain Injury After Neonatal Stroke
Background and Purpose—Brain injury caused by stroke is a frequent cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality with limited therapeutic options. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have been shown to improve outcome after neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury mainly by secretion of growth factors stimulating repair processes. We investigated whether MSC treatment improves recovery after neonatal stroke and whether MSC overexpressing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (MSC-BDNF) further enhances recovery.
Methods—We performed 1.5-hour transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in 10-day-old rats. Three days after reperfusion, pups with evidence of injury by diffusion-weighted MRI were treated intranasally with MSC, MSC-BDNF, or vehicle. To determine the effect of MSC treatment, brain damage, sensorimotor function, and cerebral cell proliferation were analyzed.
Results—Intranasal delivery of MSC- and MSC-BDNF significantly reduced infarct size and gray matter loss in comparison with vehicle-treated rats without any significant difference between MSC- and MSC-BDNF–treatment. Treatment with MSC-BDNF significantly reduced white matter loss with no significant difference between MSC- and MSC-BDNF–treatment. Motor deficits were also improved by MSC treatment when compared with vehicle-treated rats. MSC-BDNF–treatment resulted in an additional significant improvement of motor deficits 14 days after middle cerebral artery occlusion, but there was no significant difference between MSC or MSC-BDNF 28 days after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Furthermore, treatment with either MSC or MSC-BDNF induced long-lasting cell proliferation in the ischemic hemisphere.
Conclusions—Intranasal administration of MSC after neonatal stroke is a promising therapy for treatment of neonatal stroke. In this experimental paradigm, MSC- and BNDF-hypersecreting MSC are equally effective in reducing ischemic brain damage.
- Received November 30, 2012.
- Revision received February 22, 2013.
- Accepted February 25, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.