Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem accounting for 1.4 million emergency room visits by US citizens each year. Although TBI has been traditionally considered an acute injury, chronic symptoms reminiscent of neurodegenerative disorders have now been recognized. These progressive neurodegenerative-like symptoms manifest as impaired motor and cognitive skills, as well as stress, anxiety, and mood affective behavioral alterations. TBI, characterized by external bumps or blows to the head exceeding the brain’s protective capacity, causes physical damage to the central nervous system with accompanying neurological dysfunctions. The primary impact results in direct neural cell loss predominantly exhibiting necrotic death, which is then followed by a wave of secondary injury cascades including excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, blood–brain barrier disruption, and inflammation. All these processes exacerbate the damage, worsen the clinical outcomes, and persist as an evolving pathological hallmark of what we now describe as chronic TBI. Neuroinflammation in the acute stage of TBI mobilizes immune cells, astrocytes, cytokines, and chemokines toward the site of injury to mount an antiinflammatory response against brain damage; however, in the chronic stage, excess activation of these inflammatory elements contributes to an “inflamed” brain microenvironment that principally contributes to secondary cell death in TBI. Modulating these inflammatory cells by changing their phenotype from proinflammatory to antiinflammatory would likely promote therapeutic effects on TBI. Because neuroinflammation occurs at acute and chronic stages after the primary insult in TBI, a treatment targeting neuroinflammation may have a wider therapeutic window for TBI. To this end, a better understanding of TBI etiology and clinical manifestations, especially the pathological presentation of chronic TBI with neuroinflammation as a major component, will advance our knowledge on inflammation-based disease mechanisms and treatments.
head trauma; chronic; inflammation; secondary cell death; regenerative medicine; stem cells
With limited clinical trials in stem cell therapy for adult stroke underway, the assessment of efficacy also needs to be considered for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, considering its distinct symptoms. The critical nature of this condition establishes deficits that last a lifetime. Here, we will highlight the progress of current translational research, commenting on the critical nature of the disease, stem cell sources, the use of hypothermia, safety and efficacy of each treatment, modes of action, and the possibility of combination therapy. With this in mind, we reference translational guidelines established by a consortium of research partners called Stem cell Therapeutics as an Emerging Paradigm for Stroke (STEPS). The guidelines of STEPS are directed for evaluating outcomes for cell therapy in adult stroke; however, we identify the overlapping pathology, as we believe these guidelines will serve well in the investigation of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic therapy. Lastly, discussion into current treatment and a case report demonstrate that the capabilities for these treatments have arrived and the time for advancing stem cell therapy and hypothermia for cerebral palsy is now.
cell transplantation; neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury; translational research; clinical applications
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are both significant clinical problems characterized by debilitating symptoms with limited available treatments. Interestingly, both neurological diseases are characterized by neurovascular damage. This impaired brain vasculature correlates with the onset of dementia, a symptom associated with hippocampal degeneration seen in both diseases. We posit that vascular damage is a major pathological link between TBI and AD, in that TBI victims are predisposed to AD symptoms due to altered brain vasculature; vice versa, the progression of AD pathology may be accelerated by TBI especially when the brain insult worsens hippocampal degeneration. Our hypothesis is supported by recent data reporting expedited AD pathology in presymptomatic transgenic AD mice subjected to TBI. If our hypothesis is correct, treatments targeted at repairing the vasculature may prove effective at treating both diseases and preventing the evolution of AD symptoms in TBI victims.
Traumatic Brain Injury; Alzheimer’s disease; Neurovascular Damage
Cerebrovascular diseases are a major cause of death and long-term disability in developed countries. Tissue plasmin activator (tPA) is the only approved therapy for ischemic stroke, strongly limited by the short therapeutic window and hemorrhagic complications, therefore excluding most patients from its benefits. The rescue of the penumbra area of the ischemic infarct is decisive for functional recovery after stroke. Inflammation is a key feature in the penumbra area and it plays a dual role, improving injury in early phases but impairing neural survival at later stages. Stem cells can be opportunely used to modulate inflammation, abrogate cell death and, therefore, preserve neural function. We here discuss the possible role of stem cells derived from menstrual blood as restorative treatment for stroke. We highlight the availability, proliferative capacity, pluripotentiality and angiogenic features of these cells and explore their present and future experimental and clinical applications.
stroke; penumbra area; cell-based therapy; menstrual blood stem cells; endometrium-derived stem cells; restorative treatment
Treatments for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) have been limited. The aim of this paper is to offer translational research guidance on stem cell therapy for neonatal HIE by examining clinically relevant animal models, practical stem cell sources, safety and efficacy of endpoint assays, as well as a general understanding of modes of action of this cellular therapy. In order to do so, we discuss the clinical manifestations of HIE, highlighting its overlapping pathologies with stroke and providing insights on the potential of cell therapy currently investigated in stroke, for HIE. To this end, we draw guidance from recommendations outlined in stem cell therapeutics as an emerging paradigm for stroke or STEPS, which have been recently modified to Baby STEPS to cater for the “neonatal” symptoms of HIE. These guidelines recognized that neonatal HIE exhibit distinct disease symptoms from adult stroke in need of an innovative translational approach that facilitates the entry of cell therapy in the clinic. Finally, new information about recent clinical trials and insights into combination therapy are provided with the vision that stem cell therapy may benefit from available treatments, such as hypothermia, already being tested in children diagnosed with HIE.
cerebral palsy; stem cells; hypothermia; combination therapy; translational research
Background and Purpose
Despite the reported functional recovery in transplanted stroke models and patients, the mechanism of action underlying stem cell therapy remains not well understood. Here, we examined the role of stem cell-mediated vascular repair in stroke.
Adult rats were exposed to transient occlusion of the middle cerebral artery and 3 hours later randomly stereotaxically transplantated with 100K, 200K, or 400K human cerebral endothelial cell 6 viable cells or vehicle. Animals underwent neurological examination and motor test up to day 7 after transplantation then euthanized for immunostaining against neuronal, vascular, and specific human antigens. A parallel in vitro study cocultured rat primary neuronal cells with human cerebral endothelial cell 6 under oxygen-glucose deprivation and treated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and anti-VEGF.
Stroke animals that received vehicle infusion displayed typical occlusion of the middle cerebral artery-induced behavioral impairments that were dose-dependently reduced in transplanted stroke animals at days 3 and 7 after transplantation and accompanied by increased expression of host neuronal and vascular markers adjacent to the transplanted cells. Some transplanted cells showed a microvascular phenotype and juxtaposed to the host vasculature. Infarct volume in transplanted stroke animals was significantly smaller than vehicle-infused stroke animals. Moreover, rat neurons cocultured with human cerebral endothelial cell 6 or treated with VEGF exhibited significantly less oxygen-glucose deprivation-induced cell death that was blocked by anti-VEGF treatment.
We found attenuation of behavioral and histological deficits coupled with robust vasculogenesis and neurogenesis in endothelial cell-transplanted stroke animals, suggesting that targeting vascular repair sets in motion a regenerative process in experimental stroke possibly via the VEGF pathway.
endothelial cells; neurogenesis; stem cells; stroke
Ischemic brain injury in adults and neonates is a significant clinical problem with limited therapeutic interventions. Currently, clinicians have only tPA available for stroke treatment and hypothermia for cerebral palsy. Owing to the lack of treatment options, there is a need for novel treatments such as stem cell therapy. Various stem cells including cells from embryo, fetus, perinatal, and adult tissues have proved effective in preclinical and small clinical trials. However, a limiting factor in the success of these treatments is the delivery of the cells and their by-products (neurotrophic factors) into the injured brain. We have demonstrated that mannitol, a drug with the potential to transiently open the blood–brain barrier and facilitate the entry of stem cells and trophic factors, as a solution to the delivery problem. The combination of stem cell therapy and mannitol may improve therapeutic outcomes in adult stroke and neonatal cerebral palsy.
Mannitol; Stem cells; Blood–brain barrier permeability; Neurotrophic factors; Cerebral ischemia; Adult; Neonates
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by widespread immunomodulatory demyelination of the CNS resulting in nerve cell dysfunction. Accordingly, treatment strategies have been centered on immunodulation and remyelination, with the former primarily focused on reducing the pathology rather than enhancing myelin repair which the latter targets. While conceding to the emerging view of heterogeneity in the pathology of MS, which precludes variations in degree of immune response (i.e., inflammation) and demyelination, the concept of enhancing myelin repair is appealing since it is likely to provide both disease-reducing and disease-inhibiting therapeutic approach to MS. In this regard, we and several others, have proposed that cell replacement therapy is an effective strategy to repair the myelin in MS. Here, we hypothesize that transplantation of mouse bone marrow-derived oligodendrocytes (BMDOs) and BMDOs transfected with Ephrin proteins (BMDO+Ephrin), which are known to enhance cell and axonal migratory capacity, may produce therapeutic benefits in animal models of MS.
Multiple Sclerosis; cell transplantation; bone marrow derived oligodendrocytes (BMDOs); BMDO+Ephrin
Stroke is the third most common cause of death and severe disability among Western populations. Overall, the incidence of stroke is uniformly higher in men than in women. Stroke is rare in women during the reproductive years, and rapidly increases after menopause, strongly suggesting that estrogen (E2) plays an important role in the prevention of stroke. Ongoing studies are currently evaluating both the benefits and risks associated with E2 replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy in stroke. Equally important is the role of E2 receptor (ER), as studies indicate that ER populations in several tissue sites may significantly change during stress and aging. Such changes may affect the patient’s susceptibility to neurological disorders including stroke, and greatly affect the response to selective E2 receptor modulators (SERMs). Replacement therapies may be inefficient with low ER levels.
The goal of this review paper is to discuss an animal model that will allow investigations of the potential therapeutic effects of E2 and its derivatives in stroke. We hypothesize that E2 neuroprotection is, in part, receptor mediated. This hypothesis is a proof of principle approach to demonstrate a role for specific ER subtypes in E2 neuroprotection. To accomplish this, we use a retroviral mediated gene transfer strategy that express subtypes of the ER gene in regions of the rat brain most susceptible to neuronal damage, namely the striatum and cortex. The animal model is exposed to experimental stroke conditions involving middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) method, and eventually the extent of neuronal damage will be evaluated. A reduction in neuronal damage is expected when E2 is administered with specific ER subtypes. From this animal model, an optimal E2 dose and treatment regimen can be determined. The animal model can help identify potential E2-like therapeutics in stroke, and screen for beneficial or toxic additives present in commercial E2 preparations that are currently available. Such studies will be informative in designing drug therapies for stroke.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors exhibit motor and cognitive symptoms from the primary injury that can become aggravated over time because of secondary cell death. In the present in vivo study, we examined the beneficial effects of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) in a controlled cortical impact model of mild TBI using young (6 months) and aged (20 months) F344 rats. Animals were transplanted intravenously with 4 × 106 hADSCs (Tx), conditioned media (CM), or vehicle (unconditioned media) at 3 h after TBI. Significant amelioration of motor and cognitive functions was revealed in young, but not aged, Tx and CM groups. Fluorescent imaging in vivo and ex vivo revealed 1,1′ dioactadecyl-3-3-3′,3′-tetramethylindotricarbocyanine iodide-labeled hADSCs in peripheral organs and brain after TBI. Spatiotemporal deposition of hADSCs differed between young and aged rats, most notably reduced migration to the aged spleen. Significant reduction in cortical damage and hippocampal cell loss was observed in both Tx and CM groups in young rats, whereas less neuroprotection was detected in the aged rats and mainly in the Tx group but not the CM group. CM harvested from hADSCs with silencing of either NEAT1 (nuclear enriched abundant transcript 1) or MALAT1 (metastasis associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1), long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) known to play a role in gene expression, lost the efficacy in our model. Altogether, hADSCs are promising therapeutic cells for TBI, and lncRNAs in the secretome is an important mechanism of cell therapy. Furthermore, hADSCs showed reduced efficacy in aged rats, which may in part result from decreased homing of the cells to the spleen.
aging; brain injury; stem cell
Cell therapy is a major discipline of regenerative medicine that has been continually growing over the last two decades. The aging of the population necessitates discovery of therapeutic innovations to combat debilitating disorders, such as stroke. Menstrual blood and Sertoli cells are two gender-specific sources of viable transplantable cells for stroke therapy. The use of autologous cells for the subacute phase of stroke offers practical clinical application. Menstrual blood cells are readily available, display proliferative capacity, pluripotency and angiogenic features, and, following transplantation in stroke models, have the ability to migrate to the infarct site, regulate the inflammatory response, secrete neurotrophic factors, and have the possibility to differentiate into neural lineage. Similarly, the testis-derived Sertoli cells secrete many growth and trophic factors, are highly immunosuppressive, and exert neuroprotective effects in animal models of neurological disorders. We highlight the practicality of experimental and clinical application of menstrual blood cells and Sertoli cells to treat stroke, from cell isolation and cryopreservation to administration.
menstrual blood; Sertoli cells; autologous; ischemic stroke; regenerative
The pathophysiological changes that occur during ischemic stroke can have a profound effect on the surrounding nerve tissue. To this end, we advance the hypothesis that retinal damage can occur as a consequence of ischemic stroke in animal models. We discuss the preclinical evidence over the last 3 decades supporting this hypothesis of retinal damage following ischemic stroke. In our evaluation of the hypothesis, we highlight the animal models providing evidence of pathological and mechanistic link between ischemic stroke and retinal damage. That retinal damage is closely associated with ischemic stroke, yet remains neglected in stroke treatment regimen, provides the impetus for recognizing the treatment of retinal damage as a critical component of stroke therapy.
Modified mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) display a unique mechanism of action during the repair phase of traumatic brain injury by exhibiting the ability to build a biobridge between the neurogenic niche and the site of injury. Immunohistochemistry and laser capture assay have visualized this biobridge in the area between the neurogenic subventricular zone and the injured cortex. This biobridge expresses high levels of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are initially co-localized with a stream of transplanted MSCs, but later this region contains only few to non-detectable grafts and becomes overgrown by newly recruited host cells. We have reported that long-distance migration of host cells from the neurogenic niche to the injured brain site can be attained via these transplanted stem cell-paved biobridges, which serve as a key regenerative process for the initiation of endogenous repair mechanisms. Thus, far the two major schools of discipline in stem cell repair mechanisms support the idea of “cell replacement” and the bystander effects of “trophic factor secretion.” Our novel observation of stem cell-paved biobridges as pathways for directed migration of host cells from neurogenic niche toward the injured brain site adds another mode of action underlying stem cell therapy. More in-depth investigations on graft-host interaction will likely aid translational research focused on advancing this stem cell-paved biobridge from its current place, as an equally potent repair mechanism as cell replacement and trophic factor secretion, into a new treatment strategy for traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders.
trauma; cell transplantation; regenerative medicine; neurogenesis; extracellular matrix
Accumulating preclinical evidence suggests the use of amnion as a source of stem cells for investigations of basic science concepts related to developmental cell biology, but also for stem cells’ therapeutic applications in treating human disorders. We previously reported isolation of viable rat amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells. Subsequently, we recently reported the therapeutic benefits of intravenous transplantation of AFS cells in a rodent model of ischemic stroke. Parallel lines of investigations have provided safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy for treating stroke and other neurological disorders. This review article highlights the need for investigations of mechanisms underlying AFS cells’ therapeutic benefits and discusses lab-to-clinic translational gating items in an effort to optimize the clinical application of the cell transplantation for stroke.
cerebral ischemia; neural stem/progenitor cells; regenerative medicine; neurogenesis; neurotrophic factors
Cell-based therapy is a promising therapy for myocardial infarction. Endogenous repair of the heart muscle after myocardial infarction is a challenge because adult cardiomyocytes have a limited capacity to proliferate and replace damaged cells. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence has shown that cell based therapy may promote revascularization and replacement of damaged myocytes after myocardial infarction. Adult stem cells can be harvested from different sources including bone marrow, skeletal myoblast, and human umbilical cord blood cells. The use of these cells for the repair of myocardial infarction presents various advantages over other sources of stem cells. Among these are easy harvesting, unlimited differentiation capability, and robust angiogenic potential. In this review, we discuss the milestone findings and the most recent evidence demonstrating the therapeutic efficacy and safety of the transplantation of human umbilical cord blood cells as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with gene therapy, highlighting the importance of optimizing the timing, dose and delivery methods, and a better understanding of the mechanisms of action that will guide the clinical entry of this innovative treatment for ischemic disorders, specifically myocardial infarction.
Myocardial infarction; Cardiomyocytes; Umbilical cord blood; Angiogenesis; Gene therapy
Despite its narrow therapeutic window, lithium is still regarded as the gold standard comparator and benchmark treatment for mania. Recent attempts to find new drugs with similar therapeutic activities have yielded new chemical entities. However, these potential new drugs have yet to match the many bioactivities attributable to lithium's efficacy for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases. Consequently, an intense effort for re-engineering lithium therapeutics using crystal engineering is currently underway. We sought to improve the likelihood of success of these endeavors by evaluating the pharmacokinetics of previously unexplored lithium salts with organic anions (lithium salicylate and lithium lactate). We report that these lithium salts exhibit profoundly different pharmacokinetics compared to the more common FDA approved salt, lithium carbonate, in rats. Remarkably, lithium salicylate produced elevated plasma and brain levels of lithium beyond 48 hours post-dose without the sharp peak that contributes to the toxicity problems of current lithium therapeutics. These findings could be important for the development of the next generation of lithium therapeutics.
Stem cells exert therapeutic effects against ischemic stroke via transplantation of exogenous stem cells or stimulation of endogenous stem cells within the neurogenic niches of subventricular zone and subgranular zone, or recruited from the bone marrow through peripheral circulation. In this paper, we review the different sources of stem cells that have been tested in animal models of stroke. In addition, we discuss specific mechanisms of action, in particular neurovascular repair by endothelial progenitor cells, as key translational research for advancing the clinical applications of stem cells for ischemic stroke.
Cerebral ischemia; Cell-based therapies; Vasculature; Blood brain barrier; Endothelial cells
Stem cell therapy for adult stroke has reached limited clinical trials. Here, we provide translational research guidance on stem cell therapy for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury requiring a careful consideration of clinically relevant animal models, feasible stem cell sources, and validated safety and efficacy endpoint assays, as well as a general understanding of modes of action of this cellular therapy. To this end, we refer to existing translational guidelines, in particular the recommendations outlined in the consortium of academicians, industry partners and regulators called Stem cell Therapeutics as an Emerging Paradigm for Stroke or STEPS. Although the STEPS guidelines are directed at enhancing the successful outcome of cell therapy in adult stroke, we highlight overlapping pathologies between adult stroke and neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. We are, however, cognizant that the neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury displays disease symptoms distinct from adult stroke in need of an innovative translational approach that facilitates the entry of cell therapy in the clinic. Finally, insights into combination therapy are provided with the vision that stem cell therapy may benefit from available treatments, such as hypothermia, already being tested in children diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.
cerebral palsy; stem cells; hypothermia; neurorestoration; translational; consortium; combination therapy
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become the signature wound of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Injury may result from a mechanical force, a rapid acceleration-deceleration movement, or a blast wave. A cascade of secondary cell death events ensues after the initial injury. In particular, multiple inflammatory responses accompany TBI. A series of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines spreads to normal brain areas juxtaposed to the core impacted tissue. Among the repertoire of immune cells involved, microglia is a key player in propagating inflammation to tissues neighboring the core site of injury. Neuroprotective drug trials in TBI have failed, likely due to their sole focus on abrogating neuronal cell death and ignoring the microglia response despite these inflammatory cells’ detrimental effects on the brain. Another relevant point to consider is the veracity of results of animal experiments due to deficiencies in experimental design, such as incomplete or inadequate method description, data misinterpretation, and reporting may introduce bias and give false-positive results. Thus, scientific publications should follow strict guidelines that include randomization, blinding, sample-size estimation, and accurate handling of all data (Landis et al., 2012). A prolonged state of inflammation after brain injury may linger for years and predispose patients to develop other neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. TBI patients display progressive and long-lasting impairments in their physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social performance. Here, we discuss inflammatory mechanisms that accompany TBI in an effort to increase our understanding of the dynamic pathological condition as the disease evolves over time and begin to translate these findings for defining new and existing inflammation-based biomarkers and treatments for TBI.
head trauma; microglia; inflammatory response; secondary cell death; anti-inflammatory therapy; brain imaging
Our understanding of biological mechanisms and treatment options for traumatic brain injury (TBI) is limited. Here, we employed quantitative real-time PCR (QRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical analyses to determine the dynamic expression of cell proliferation and apoptosis in an effort to provide insights into the therapeutic window for developing regenerative strategies for TBI. For this purpose, young adult Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to experimental TBI using a controlled cortical impactor, then euthanized 1-48 hours after TBI for QRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. QRT-PCR revealed that brains from TBI exposed rats initially displayed nestin mRNA expression that modestly increased as early as 1-hour post-TBI, then significantly peaked at 8 hours, but thereafter reverted to pre-TBI levels. On the other hand, caspase-3 mRNA expression was slightly elevated at 8 hours post-TBI, which did not become significantly upregulated until 48 hours. Immunofluorescent microscopy revealed a significant surge in nestin immunoreactive cells in the cortex, corpus callosum, and subventricular zone at 24 hours post-TBI, whereas a significant increase in the number of active caspase-3 immunoreactive cells was only found in the cortex and not until 48 hours. These results suggest that the injured brain attempts to repair itself via cell proliferation immediately after TBI, but that this endogenous regenerative mechanism is not sufficient to abrogate the secondary apoptotic cell death. Treatment strategies designed to amplify cell proliferation and to prevent apoptosis are likely to exert maximal benefits when initiated at the acute phase of TBI.
cell proliferation; neurogenesis; apoptosis; head trauma; nestin; caspase-3
Periodic alternating nystagmus (PAN) is a spontaneous horizontal nystagmus observed in disorders of the central nervous system. Patients with congenital PAN complain of oscillating vision at high rates. Medication is the first-choice treatment for PAN; however, clinicians still seek better therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcomes of recession of four horizontal rectus muscle (R-FHR) in patients with congenital PAN.
Patients and methods
This study reports a retrospective case series of ten patients (seven males and three females; mean age 24.4±10.9) with congenital PAN who underwent R-FHR between 2007 and 2012, which was performed by the same surgeon at the Hyogo College of Medicine. Patients were evaluated for complications, recession amount, deviation angle, eye movements including a nystagmus amplitude, and visual acuity during pre- and post-operative periods.
Pre-operatively, patients complained of oscillating vision, abnormal head posture, esotropia, and congenital superior oblique palsy. Post-operatively, changes from the previous observations of nystagmus amplitudes and abnormal head posture demonstrated a complete reversal in all patients. In addition, visual acuity determined with a Snellen chart improved in two patients. However, esotropia occurred in three patients who underwent additional strabismus surgery 2 days after R-FHR. R-FHR was particularly effective in eight patients who pre-operatively had periodic oscillating vision with a regular pattern of periodic nystagmus.
We demonstrated that ten patients with congenital PAN had improved vision following R-FHR, indicating that R-FHR was an effective procedure, especially in patients suffering PAN with periodic oscillating vision.
congenital nystagmus; null point nystagmus; strabismus surgery; ocular torticollis; oscillating vision; electro-oculogram
We advance Baby STEPS or Stem cell Therapeutics as an Emerging Paradigm for Stroke as a guide in facilitating the critical evaluation in the laboratory of the safety and efficacy of cell therapy for neonatal encephalopathy. The need to carefully consider the clinical relevance of the animal models in mimicking human neonatal brain injury, selection of the optimal stem cell donor, and the application of functional outcome assays in small and large animal models serve as the foundation for preclinical work and beginning to understand the mechanism of this cellular therapy. The preclinical studies will aid our formulation of a rigorous human clinical trial which encompasses not only efficacy testing but also monitoring of safety indices and demonstration of mechanisms of action. This schema forms the basis of Baby STEPS. Our goal is to resonate the urgent call to enhance the successful translation of cell therapy from the laboratory to the clinic.
The aging body is unable to maintain homeostasis in cell genesis and function. Stem cell-based regenerative medicine may reverse aging and treat age-related disorders. This perspective article discusses the therapeutic effects of stem cell transplantation on neonatal diseases, which may have long-lasting benefits affecting even the aging process. In particular, the article highlights the potential of the earliest transfer of stem cells between a mother and fetus via the umbilical cord during child birth and how this process may modify the clinical practice of umbilical cord clamping. While such umbilical cord clamping is routinely performed in an expeditious manner after birth for stem cell banking, the present article advances the concept that a delay in clamping the umbilical cord may actually allow more stem cells to be delivered from the mother to the fetus. The authors’ overarching hypothesis is that early umbilical cord clamping results in an artificial loss of stem cells at birth and increases the infant’s susceptibility to both neonatal and age-related diseases, while delaying umbilical cord clamping is perhaps the most effective and non-invasive way to transplant stem cells in order to treat these diseases.
stem cell; transplantation; neonatal disease; aging; age-related disorders; umbilical cord; cord clamping; stem cell banking
Cell therapy has been established as an important field of research with considerable progress in the last years. At the same time, the progressive aging of the population has highlighted the importance of discovering therapeutic alternatives for diseases of high incidence and disability, such as stroke. Menstrual blood is a recently discovered source of stem cells with potential relevance for the treatment of stroke. Migration to the infarct site, modulation of the inflammatory reaction, secretion of neurotrophic factors, and possible differentiation warrant these cells as therapeutic tools. We here propose the use of autologous menstrual blood cells in the restorative treatment of the subacute phase of stroke. We highlight the availability, proliferative capacity, pluripotency, and angiogenic features of these cells and explore their mechanistic pathways of repair. Practical aspects of clinical application of menstrual blood cells for stroke will be discussed, from cell harvesting and cryopreservation to administration to the patient.
Each year, over one million people in the United States are affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms of both acute and chronic neuroinflammation follow TBI, coinciding with a robust immune response and activation of the brain’s endogenous repair mechanisms. TBI can lead to endocrine failure as a result of damage to the thalamic region of the brain, evidenced by excessive thirst and polyuria often accompanying TBI. These symptoms indicate the presence of diabetes insipidus (DI), a disruption of water homeostasis due to antidiuretic hormone deficiency. This deficiency accompanies a mechanical or neuroinflammatory damage to the thalamic region during TBI, evidenced by increased expression of inflammatory microglial marker MHCII in this brain region. Excessive thirst and urinations, which are typical DI symptoms, in our chronic TBI rats also suggest a close connection between TBI and DI. We seek to bridge this gap between TBI and DI through investigation of the Cluster of Differentiation 36 (CD36) receptor. This receptor is associated with Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) deregulation, proinflammatory events, and innate immunity regulation. We posit that CD36 exacerbates TBI through immune activation and subsequent neuroinflammation. Indeed, scientific evidence already supports pathological interaction of CD36 in other neurological disorders including stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. We propose that DI contributes to TBI pathology via CD36 neuroinflammation. Use of CD36 as a biomarker may provide insights into treatment and disease pathology of TBI and DI. This unexplored avenue of research holds potential for a better understanding and treatment of TBI and DI.
Diabetes Insipidus; Traumatic brain injury; Neuroinflammation; CD36