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Open Access Research

Intraarterial transplantation of human umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells is more efficacious and safer compared with umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells in a rodent stroke model

Neha Karlupia123*, Nathan C Manley12, Kameshwar Prasad3, Richard Schäfer1 and Gary K Steinberg12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, R281, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5487, USA

2 Stanford Stroke Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

3 Department of Neurology, All India Institute of medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2014, 5:45  doi:10.1186/scrt434

Published: 1 April 2014

Abstract

Introduction

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, claims six lives every 60 seconds, and is a leading cause of adult disability across the globe. Tissue plasminogen activator, the only United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug currently available, has a narrow therapeutic time window of less than 5 hours. In the past decade, cells derived from the human umbilical cord (HUC) have emerged as a potential therapeutic alternative for stroke; however, the most effective HUC-derived cell population remains unknown.

Methods

We compared three cell populations derived from the human umbilical cord: cord blood mononuclear cells (cbMNCs); cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells (cbMSCs), a subpopulation of cbMNCs; and cord matrix MSCs (cmMSCs). We characterized these cells in vitro with flow cytometry and assessed the cells’ in vivo efficacy in a 2-hour transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) rat model of stroke. cbMNCs, cbMSCs, and cmMSCs were each transplanted intraarterially at 24 hours after stroke.

Results

A reduction in neurologic deficit and infarct area was observed in all three cell groups; however, this reduction was significantly enhanced in the cbMNC group compared with the cmMSC group. At 2 weeks after stroke, human nuclei-positive cells were present in the ischemic hemispheres of immunocompetent stroke rats in all three cell groups. Significantly decreased expression of rat brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA was observed in the ischemic hemispheres of all three cell-treated and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group animals compared with sham animals, although the decrease was least in cbMNC-treated animals. Significantly decreased expression of rat interleukin (IL)-2 mRNA and IL-6 mRNA was seen only in the cbMSC group. Notably, more severe complications (death, eye inflammation) were observed in the cmMSC group compared with the cbMNC and cbMSC groups.

Conclusions

All three tested cell types promoted recovery after stroke, but cbMNCs showed enhanced recovery and fewer complications compared with cmMSCs.