Injection of mouse and human neural stem cells into neonatal Niemann-Pick A model mice

Brain Res. 2007 Apr 6;1140:195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.01.011. Epub 2007 Jan 9.


Cloned mouse C17.2 neural stem cells (NSCs) or human NSCs were injected into five CNS sites in very large numbers (100,000 cells/site, or a total of 500,000 cells) into 18 neonatal mice homozygous for a targeted deletion (knockout) of the acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) gene (called ASMKO mice), a faithful model of human Niemann-Pick type A (NP-A) disease, and into 10 wild-type mice, all on the C57BL/6J background. Injected mice were not immunosuppressed, and all survived to adulthood. Non-injected ASMKO controls had developed widespread neuronal and glial vacuolation and lysosomal accumulation of sphingomyelin and cholesterol when examined histologically at 16 weeks of age. Unlike children with NP-A disease, the ASMKO mice also lose cerebellar Purkinje neurons progressively, are ataxic, and show parallel progressive declines in rotorod performance. At 16 weeks NSC-injected mice showed a dramatic decrease in neuronal and glial vacuolation (by standard histological staining) and in cholesterol accumulation (by filipin fluorescence staining) throughout the cerebral neocortex, hippocampal formation, striatum and cerebellum, with lesser but clear improvement throughout the brainstem. Improvement was modestly but consistently better in human HFT13-injected than in mouse C17.2-injected ASMKO mice. Improvement in the ASMKO brains was more widespread than the distribution of NSCs, an indication that ASM must have been secreted and diffused at therapeutic concentrations beyond the territory occupied by NSCs. However, though Purkinje cell rescue has been achieved with NSCs in some other disease models, loss of Purkinje neurons and decline in rotorod performance were still present in injected ASMKO mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Indoles
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Niemann-Pick Disease, Type A / physiopathology
  • Niemann-Pick Disease, Type A / surgery*
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase / deficiency
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Indoles
  • DAPI
  • Cholesterol
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase