Human fetal brain-derived neural stem/progenitor cells grafted into the adult epileptic brain restrain seizures in rat models of temporal lobe epilepsy

PLoS One. 2014 Aug 8;9(8):e104092. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104092. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Cell transplantation has been suggested as an alternative therapy for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) because this can suppress spontaneous recurrent seizures in animal models. To evaluate the therapeutic potential of human neural stem/progenitor cells (huNSPCs) for treating TLE, we transplanted huNSPCs, derived from an aborted fetal telencephalon at 13 weeks of gestation and expanded in culture as neurospheres over a long time period, into the epileptic hippocampus of fully kindled and pilocarpine-treated adult rats exhibiting TLE. In vitro, huNSPCs not only produced all three central nervous system neural cell types, but also differentiated into ganglionic eminences-derived γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic interneurons and released GABA in response to the depolarization induced by a high K+ medium. NSPC grafting reduced behavioral seizure duration, afterdischarge duration on electroencephalograms, and seizure stage in the kindling model, as well as the frequency and the duration of spontaneous recurrent motor seizures in pilocarpine-induced animals. However, NSPC grafting neither improved spatial learning or memory function in pilocarpine-treated animals. Following transplantation, grafted cells showed extensive migration around the injection site, robust engraftment, and long-term survival, along with differentiation into β-tubulin III+ neurons (∼34%), APC-CC1+ oligodendrocytes (∼28%), and GFAP+ astrocytes (∼8%). Furthermore, among donor-derived cells, ∼24% produced GABA. Additionally, to explain the effect of seizure suppression after NSPC grafting, we examined the anticonvulsant glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) levels in host hippocampal astrocytes and mossy fiber sprouting into the supragranular layer of the dentate gyrus in the epileptic brain. Grafted cells restored the expression of GDNF in host astrocytes but did not reverse the mossy fiber sprouting, eliminating the latter as potential mechanism. These results suggest that human fetal brain-derived NSPCs possess some therapeutic effect for TLE treatments although further studies to both increase the yield of NSPC grafts-derived functionally integrated GABAergic neurons and improve cognitive deficits are still needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / therapy*
  • Fetus / cytology*
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Pilocarpine
  • Rats
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism

Substances

  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Pilocarpine
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

Grant support

This work was supported by grants from Korea Healthcare Technology R&D Project (A121943), Ministry for Health and Welfare, National Research Foundation (2013M3A9B4076545), and Faculty Grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2006-0017). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.