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Keywords:

  • Angiopoietin;
  • cerebral ischemia;
  • neural progenitor cells;
  • tight junctional protein;
  • VEGF

Abstract

Earlier we demonstrated that the injection of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) has therapeutic potential for the improvement of learning dysfunction after cerebral ischemia. However, it remained to be clarified how transplantation of NPCs can improve ischemia-induced dysfunction. In this study, we examined whether intravenous injection of NPCs after cerebral ischemia could enhance angiogenesis by affecting the expression of angiogenic factors. The injection of NPCs on day 7 after cerebral ischemia enhanced angiogenesis on day 28. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor VEGFR2 were increased in expression by the NPC injection. The level of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), an angiogenic factor, but not that of Ang-2, which acts as an antagonist for the Ang-1 receptor, was also increased on day 28. In addition, the expression of Ang-1 receptor Tie2 was enhanced in brain capillaries. Furthermore, the amounts of tight junctional proteins, which are in the blood–brain barrier and whose expression occurs downstream of Ang-1/Tie2 signaling, were increased by the NPC injection. These results suggest that the NPC injection promoted angiogenesis through Ang-1/Tie2 and/or VEGF/VEGFR2 signaling in brain capillaries after cerebral ischemia. Such signaling might have the potential for causing vascular stabilization and maturation for a long period after cerebral ischemia.