Embryonic stem (ES) cells have been investigated in various animal models of neurodegenerative disease; however, few studies have examined the ability of ES cells to improve functional outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of the present study was to examine the ability of pre-differentiated murine ES cells (neuronal and glial precursors) to improve functional outcome. Rats were prepared with a unilateral controlled cortical impact injury or sham and then transplanted 7 days later with 100K ES cells (WW6G) (~30% neurons) or media. Two days following transplantation rats were tested on a battery of behavioral tests. It was found that transplantation of ES cells improved behavioral outcome by reducing the initial magnitude of the deficit on the bilateral tactile removal and locomotor placing tests. ES cells also induced almost complete recovery on the vibrissae --> forelimb placing test, whereas, media-transplanted rats failed to show recovery. Acquisition of a reference memory task in the Morris water maze was not improved by transplantation of ES cells. Histological analysis revealed a large number of surviving ES cells in the lesion cavity and showed migration of ES cells into subcortical structures. It was found that transplantation of ES cells prevented the occurrence of multiple small necrotic cavities that were seen in the cortex adjacent to the lesion cavity in media transplanted rats. Additionally, ES cells transplants also significantly reduced lesion size. Results of this study suggest that ES cells that have been pre-differentiated into neuronal precursors prior to transplantation have therapeutic potential.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells have been investigated in many animal models of injury and disease. However, few studies have examined the ability of pre-differentiated ES cells to improve functional outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of the present study was to compare the effect of murine ES cells that were pre-differentiated into GABAergic neurons or astrocytes on functional recovery following TBI. Neural and astrocyte induction was achieved by co-culturing ES cells on a bone marrow stromal fibroblast (M2-10B4) feeder layer and incubating them with various mitogenic factors. Rats were initially prepared with a unilateral controlled cortical contusion injury of the sensorimotor cortex or sham procedure. Rats were transplanted 7 days following injury with ∼100K GABAergic neurons, astrocytes, fibroblasts, or media. Animals were assessed on a battery of sensorimotor tasks following transplantation. The stromal fibroblast cells (M2-10B4), as a control cell line, did not differ significantly from media infusions. Transplantation of GABAergic neurons facilitated complete and total recovery on the vibrissae-forelimb placing test as opposed to all other groups, which failed to show any recovery. It was also found that GABAergic neurons reduced the magnitude of the initial impairment on the limb use test. Histological analysis revealed infiltration of host brain with transplanted neurons and astrocytes. The results of the present study suggest that transplantation of pre-differentiated GABAergic neurons significantly induces recovery of sensorimotor function; whereas, astrocytes do not.
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