In the present study, we investigated the feasibility of using human neural stem cells (NSCs) in the treatment of diffuse central nervous system (CNS) alterations in a murine model of mucopolysaccharidosis VII (MPS VII), a lysosomal storage disease caused by a genetic defect in the beta-glucuronidase gene. An immortalized NSC line derived from human fetal telencephalon was genetically engineered to overexpress beta-glucuronidase and transplanted into the cerebral ventricles of neonatal MPS VII mouse. Transplanted human NSCs were found to integrate and migrate in the host brain and to produce large amount of beta-glucuronidase. Brain contents of the substrates of beta-glucuronidase were reduced to nearly normal levels, and widespread clearing of lysosomal storage was observed in the MPS VII mouse brain at 25 days posttransplantation. The number of engrafted cells decreased markedly after the transplantation, and it appears that the major cause of the cell death was not the immune response of the host but apoptotic cell death of grafted human NSCs. Results showed that human NSCs would serve as a useful gene transfer vehicle for the treatment of diffuse CNS lesions in human lysosomal storage diseases and are potentially applicable in the treatment of patients suffering from neurological disorders.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.