Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has paracrine effects; however, the effects are known to be largely limited. Here we investigated the combination effects of cell transplantation and enriched environment (EE) in a model of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Brain damage was induced in seven-day-old mice by unilateral carotid artery ligation and exposure to hypoxia (8% O2 for 90 min). At six weeks of age, the mice were randomly assigned to four groups: phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-control (CON), PBS-EE, MSC-CON, and MSC-EE. Rotarod and grip strength tests were performed to evaluate neurobehavioral functions. Histologic evaluations were also performed to confirm the extent of astrocyte activation and endogenous angiogenesis. An array-based multiplex ELISA andWestern blot were used to identify growth factors in vivo and in vitro. Two weeks after treatment, levels of astrocyte density and angiogenic factors were increased in MSC-EE mice, but glial scarring was not increased. Eight weeks after treatment, angiogenesis was increased, and behavioral outcomes were synergistically improved in the MSC-EE group. Astrocytes co-cultured with MSCs expressed higher levels of angiogenic factors than astrocytes cultured alone. The mechanisms of this synergistic effect included enhanced repair processes, such as increased endogenous angiogenesis and upregulation of angiogenic factors released from activated astrocytes.
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© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry