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Keywords:

  • iPSCs;
  • Neuronal differentiation;
  • Ischemic stroke;
  • Trophic factors

Abstract

Limited treatments are available for perinatal/neonatal stroke. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold therapeutic promise for stroke treatment, but the benefits of iPSC transplantation in neonates are relatively unknown. We hypothesized that transplanted iPSC-derived neural progenitor cells (iPSC-NPCs) would increase regeneration after stroke. Mouse pluripotent iPSCs were differentiated into neural progenitors using a retinoic acid protocol. Differentiated neural cells were characterized by using multiple criteria and assessments. Ischemic stroke was induced in postnatal day 7 (P7) rats by occluding the right middle cerebral artery and right common carotid artery. iPSC-NPCs (400,000 in 4 µl) were transplanted into the penumbra via intracranial injection 7 days after stroke. Trophic factor expression in the peri-infarct tissue was measured using Western blot analysis. Animals received daily bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) injections and were sacrificed 21 days after stroke for immunohistochemistry. The vibrissae-elicited forelimb placement test was used to evaluate functional recovery. Differentiated iPSCs expressed mature neuronal markers, functional sodium and potassium channels, and fired action potentials. Several angiogenic and neurogenic trophic factors were identified in iPSC-NPCs. Animals that received iPSC-NPC transplantation had greater expression of stromal cell-derived factor 1-α (SDF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the peri-infarct region. iPSC-NPCs stained positive for neuronal nuclei (NeuN) or glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) 14 days after transplantation. iPSC-NPC-transplanted animals showed greater numbers of BrdU/NeuN and BrdU/Collagen IV colabeled cells in the peri-infarct area compared with stroke controls and performed better in a sensorimotor functional test after stroke. iPSC-NPC therapy may play multiple therapeutic roles after stroke by providing trophic factors, increasing angiogenesis and neurogenesis, and providing new cells for tissue repair. Stem Cells 2014;32:3075–3087