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Cord Blood Cells Can Be Potent Players in Stroke Relief
Posted on: February 26, 2010

In this study scientists tested whether intravenously infused HUCBC enter brain, survive, differentiate, and improve neurological functional recovery after stroke in rats. In addition, they tested whether ischemic brain tissue extract selectively induces chemotaxis of HUCBC in vitro.

For this experiment adult male Wistar rats were subjected to transient (2-hour) middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Experimental groups were as follows:

  1. MCAO alone (n=5);
  2. 3×106 HUCBC injected into tail vein at 24 hours after MCAO (n=6);
  3. MCAO alone (n=5);
  4. MCAO injected with PBS at 1 day after stroke (n=8);
  5. 3×106 HUCBC injected into tail vein at 7 days after MCAO (n=5).

Rats of groups 1 and 2 were sacrificed at 14 days after MCAO. Rats of groups 3, 4, and 5 were sacrificed at 35 days after MCAO.

Behavioral tests (rotarod and Modified Neurological Severity Score - mNSS) were performed. Immunohistochemical staining was used to identify cells derived from HUCBC. Chemotactic activity of ischemia brain tissue extracts toward HUCBC at different time points was evaluated in vitro.

The results of the study have shown that treatment at 24 hours after MCAO with HUCBC significantly improved functional recovery, as evidenced by the rotarod test and mNSS (P<0.05). Treatment at 7 days after MCAO with HUCBC significantly improved function only on the mNSS (P<0.05). Some HUCBC were reactive for the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein and the neuronal markers NeuN and microtubule-associated protein 2. In vitro, significant HUCBC migration activity was present at 24 hours after MCAO (P<0.01) compared with normal brain tissue.

So it can finally be stated that intravenously administered HUCBC enter brain, survive, migrate, and improve functional recovery after stroke. HUCBC transplantation may provide a cell source to treat stroke.

Source: Chen J, Sanberg PR, Li Y, Wang L, Lu M, Willing AE, Sanchez-Ramos J, Chopp M.; Intravenous administration of human umbilical cord blood reduces behavioral deficits after stroke in rats.; Stroke. 2001 Nov;32(11):2682-8.
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