Implantation of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells as a neuroprotective therapy for ischemic stroke in rats

Seong Ho Koh, Kyung Suk Kim, Mi Ran Choi, Kyoung Hwa Jung, Kyoung Sun Park, Young Gyu Chai, Wonjae Roh, Se Jin Hwang, Hyun Ju Ko, Yong Min Huh, Hee Tae Kim, Seung Hyun Kim

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194 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, we examined the neuroprotective effects and mechanisms of implanted human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) in ischemic stroke. hUC-MSCs were isolated from the endothelial/subendothelial layers of the human umbilical cord and cultured. Twenty days after the induction of in vitro neuronal differentiation, about 77.4% of the inoculated hUC-MSCs displayed morphological features of neurons and expressed neuronal cell markers like TU-20, Trk A, NeuN, and NF-M. However, functionally active neuronal type channels were not detected by electrophysiological examination. Before, during, or one day after in vitro neuronal differentiation, the hUC-MSCs produced granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. In an in vivo study, implantation of the hUC-MSCs into the damaged hemisphere of immunosuppressed ischemic stroke rats improved neurobehavioral function and reduced infarct volume relative to control rats. Three weeks after implantation, most of the implanted hUC-MSCs were present in the damaged hemisphere; some of these cells expressed detectable levels of neuron-specific markers. Nestin expression in the hippocampus was increased in the hUC-MSC-implanted group relative to the control group. Since the hUC-MSCs were both morphologically differentiated into neuronal cells and able to produce neurotrophic factors, but had not become functionally active neuronal cells, the improvement in neurobehavioral function and the reduction of infarct volume might be related to the neuroprotective effects of hUC-MSCs rather than the formation of a new network between host neurons and the implanted hUC-MSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant (KRF-2007-E00194) from the Korea Research Foundation (KRF), a grant (KOSEF-2006-04670) from the Basic Research Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF), and research funding from the Biotechnology Development Project, Chungbuk Province, Republic of Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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