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Keywords:

  • brain;
  • ischemia;
  • neural precursor;
  • stroke;
  • transplant

Summary

Neural precursor cell (NPC) transplantation may have a role in restoring brain function after stroke, but how aging might affect the brain’s receptivity to such transplants is unknown. We reported previously that transplantation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived NPCs together with biomaterial (Matrigel) scaffolding into the brains of young adult Sprague–Dawley rats 3 weeks after distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) reduced infarct volume and improved neurobehavioral performance. In this study, we compared the effect of NPC and Matrigel transplants in young adult (3-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) Fisher 344 rats from the National Institute on Aging’s aged rodent colony. Distal MCAO was induced by electrocoagulation, and hESC-derived NPCs were transplanted into the infarct cavity 3 weeks later. Aged rats developed larger infarcts, but infarct volume and performance on the cylinder and elevated body swing tests, measured 6–8 weeks post-transplant, were improved by transplantation. We conclude that advanced age does not preclude a beneficial response to NPC transplantation following experimental stroke.