Severe neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) patients incur long-term neurologic deficits such as cognitive disabilities. Recently, the intraventricular transplantation of allogeneic human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has drawn attention as a therapeutic potential to treat severe IVH. However, its pathological synaptic mechanism is still elusive. We here demonstrated that the integration of the somatosensory input was significantly distorted by suppressing feed-forward inhibition (FFI) at the thalamocortical (TC) inputs in the barrel cortices of neonatal rats with IVH by using BOLD-fMRI signal and brain slice patch-clamp technique. This is induced by the suppression of Hebbian plasticity via an increase in tumor necrosis factor-α expression during the critical period, which can be effectively reversed by the transplantation of MSCs. Furthermore, we showed that MSC transplantation successfully rescued IVH-induced learning deficits in the sensory-guided decision-making in correlation with TC FFI in the layer 4 barrel cortex.
Keywords: Barrel cortex; Functional MRI (fMRI); Intraventricular hemorrhage; Mesenchymal stem cell; Sensory-guided decision making; Thalamocortical input.
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