Human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells improve functional recovery through thrombospondin1, pantraxin3, and vascular endothelial growth factor in the ischemic rat brain.J Neurosci Res 2015; 93(12):1814-25JN
Cell therapy is a potential therapeutic method for cerebral ischemia, which remains a serious problem. In the search for more effective therapeutic methods, many kinds of stem cells from various tissues have been developed and tested as candidate therapeutic agents. Among them, human umbilical cord blood (hUCB)-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are widely used for cell therapy because of their genetic flexibility. To confirm that they are effective and understand how they affect ischemic neural cells, hUCB-MSCs were directly administered ipsilaterally into an ischemic zone induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). We found that the neurobehavioral performance of the hUCB-MSC group was significantly improved compared with that of the vehicle-injected control group. The infarct was also remarkably smaller in the hUCB-MSC group. Additionally, hUCB-MSC transplantation resulted in a greater number of newly generated cells and angiogenic and tissue repair factors and a lower number of inflammatory events in the penumbra zone. To determine why these events occurred, hUCB-MSCs were assayed under hypoxic and normoxic conditions in vitro. The results showed that hUCB-MSCs exhibit higher expression levels of thrombospondin1, pantraxin3, and vascular endothelial growth factor under hypoxic conditions than under normoxic conditions. These results were found to be correlated with our in vivo immunofluorescent staining results. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that hUCB-MSCs may have a beneficial effect on cerebral ischemia, especially through angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and anti-inflammatory effects, and thus could be used as a therapeutic agent to treat neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia.