• bone marrow stromal cell;
  • cell transplantation;
  • neurovascular unit;
  • neurovascular protection;
  • stroke prone spontaneously hypertensive rat

This study was aimed to assess whether bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) could ameliorate brain damage when transplanted into the brain of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR-SP). The BMSC or vehicle was stereotactically engrafted into the striatum of male SHR-SP at 8 weeks of age. Daily loading with 0.5% NaCl-containing water was started from 9 weeks. MRIs and histological analysis were performed at 11 and 12 weeks, respectively. Wistar-Kyoto rats were employed as the control. As a result, T2-weighted images demonstrated neither cerebral infarct nor intracerebral hemorrhage, but identified abnormal dilatation of the lateral ventricles in SHR-SP. HE staining demonstrated selective neuronal injury in their neocortices. Double fluorescence immunohistochemistry revealed that they had a decreased density of the collagen IV-positive microvessels and a decreased number of the microvessels with normal integrity between basement membrane and astrocyte end-feet. BMSC transplantation significantly ameliorated the ventricular dilatation and the breakdown of neurovascular integrity. These findings strongly suggest that long-lasting hypertension may primarily damage neurovascular integrity and neurons, leading to tissue atrophy and ventricular dilatation prior to the occurrence of cerebral stroke. The BMSC may ameliorate these damaging processes when directly transplanted into the brain, opening the possibility of prophylactic medicine to prevent microvascular and parenchymal-damaging processes in hypertensive patients at higher risk for cerebral stroke.