Transplanted adult neural progenitor cells survive, differentiate and reduce motor function impairment in a rodent model of Huntington's disease

Exp Neurol. 2006 Jun;199(2):384-96. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2006.01.034. Epub 2006 Apr 19.


The present study investigated the ability for adult rat neural progenitor cells to survive transplantation, structurally repopulate the striatum and improve motor function in the quinolinic acid (QA) lesion rat model of Huntington's disease. Neural progenitor cells were isolated from the subventricular zone of adult Wistar rats, propagated in culture and labeled with BrdU (50 microM). Fourteen days following QA lesioning, one group of rats (n = 12) received a unilateral injection of adult neural progenitor cells ( approximately 180,000 cells total) in the lesioned striatum, while a second group of rats (n = 10) received a unilateral injection of vehicle only (sham transplant). At the time of transplantation adult neural progenitor cells were phenotypically immature, as demonstrated by SOX2 immunocytochemistry. Eight weeks following transplantation, approximately 12% of BrdU-labeled cells had survived and migrated extensively throughout the lesioned striatum. Double-label immunocytochemical analysis demonstrated that transplanted BrdU-labeled progenitor cells differentiated into either astrocytes, as visualized by GFAP immunocytochemistry, or mature neurons, demonstrated with NeuN. A proportion of BrdU-labeled cells also expressed DARPP-32 and GAD67, specific markers for striatal medium spiny projection neurons and interneurons. Rats transplanted with adult neural progenitor cells also demonstrated a significant reduction in motor function impairment as determined by apomorphine-induced rotational asymmetry and spontaneous exploratory forelimb use when compared to sham transplanted animals. These results demonstrate that adult neural progenitor cells survive transplantation, undergo neuronal differentiation with a proportion of newly generated cells expressing markers characteristic of striatal neurons and reduce functional impairment in the QA lesion model of Huntington's disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Brain Tissue Transplantation / methods*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Huntington Disease / chemically induced
  • Huntington Disease / surgery*
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neostriatum / injuries
  • Neostriatum / pathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Quinolinic Acid / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Quinolinic Acid
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Apomorphine