Bone marrow stem cells may aid in stroke recovery

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 02, 2010 05:00 hrs

A new research has found that bone marrow stromal stem cells may aid in stroke recovery.

The study from the Farber Institute for Neurosciences and the Department of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University found that systematic administration of bone marrow stem cells (MSC) administered to laboratory rats one day after their simulated strokes found "significant recovery" of motor behaviour on the first day.

"The timing of stem cell treatment was critical to the magnitude of the positive effects," said Lorraine Iacovitti.

"In the host animals we found profound changes and preserved brain structure along with long-lasting motor function improvement," she added.

They observed increased activation of microglia as well as modification of the circulating levels of cytokines and growth factors, including elevated VEGF and new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) following transplantation.

"The mechanism through which MSCs achieve these remarkable effects remains elusive," said Dr. Iacovitti.

"It is possible that activated glia cells (nonneuronal cells that perform a number of tasks in the brain) may play some role in the response, perhaps by partitioning off the infarcted region and limiting the spread of ischemic brain damage without inducing scar formation."

The research team concluded that there was "little doubt" that the administration of stem cells can modify the cellular and molecular landscape of the brain and blood, limiting damage and protecting the stroke-injured brain.

The results can be found in Cell Transplantation - The Regenerative Medicine Journal, issue 19(9). (ANI)