Clinical and pathological effects of intrathecal injection of mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis

J Neurol Sci. 2012 Feb 15;313(1-2):167-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2011.08.036. Epub 2011 Oct 1.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with irreversible disability in a significant proportion of patients. At present, there is no treatment to halt or reverse the progression of established disability. In an effort to develop cell therapy-based strategies for progressive MS, we investigated the pre-clinical efficacy of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors (MSC-NPs) as an autologous source of stem cells. MSC-NPs consist of a subpopulation of bone marrow MSCs with neural progenitor and immunoregulatory properties, and a reduced capacity for mesodermal differentiation, suggesting that this cell population may be appropriate for clinical application in the CNS. We investigated whether MSC-NPs could promote repair and recovery after intrathecal injection into mice with EAE. Multiple injections of MSC-NPs starting at the onset of the chronic phase of disease improved neurological function compared to controls, whereas a single injection had no effect on disease scores. Intrathecal injection of MSC-NPs correlated with reduced immune cell infiltration, reduced area of demyelination, and increased number of endogenous nestin-positive progenitor cells in EAE mice. These observations suggest that MSC-NPs may influence the rate of repair through effects on endogenous progenitors in the spinal cord. This study supports the use of autologous MSC-NPs in MS patients as a means of promoting CNS repair.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / surgery*
  • Female
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / surgery*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation*