Human mesenchymal stem cell transplantation extends survival, improves motor performance and decreases neuroinflammation in mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
ABSTRACT Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal disease affecting motoneurons. In familial ALS, patients bear mutations in the superoxide dismutase gene (SOD1). We transplanted human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) into the lumbar spinal cord of asymptomatic SOD1G93A mice, an experimental model of ALS. hMSCs were found in the spinal cord 10 weeks after, sometimes close to motoneurons and were rarely GFAP- or MAP2-positive. In females, where progression is slower than in males, astrogliosis and microglial activation were reduced and motoneuron counts with the optical fractionator were higher following transplantation. Motor tests (Rotarod, Paw Grip Endurance, neurological examination) were significantly improved in transplanted males. Therefore hMSCs are a good candidate for ALS cell therapy: they can survive and migrate after transplantation in the lumbar spinal cord, where they prevent astrogliosis and microglial activation and delay ALS-related decrease in the number of motoneurons, thus resulting in amelioration of the motor performance.
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the cortex, brainstem and spinal cord. This leads to paralysis, respiratory insufficiency and death within an average of 3 to 5 years from disease onset. While the genetics of ALS are becoming more understood in familial cases, the mechanisms underlying disease pathology remain unclear and there are no effective treatment options. Without understanding what causes ALS it is difficult to design treatments. However, in recent years stem cell transplantation therapy has emerged as a potential new way to deliver relief to ALS patients. While motor neuron replacement remains a focus of some studies trying to treat ALS with stem cells, there is more rationale for using stem cells as support cells for dying motor neurons as they are already connected to the muscle. This could be through reducing inflammation, releasing growth factors, and other potential mechanisms that are not well understood. Prior to moving into patients, stringent pre-clinical studies are required that have at least some rationale and efficacy in animal models and good safety profiles. However, given our poor understanding of what causes ALS and whether stem cells may ameliorate symptoms, there should be a push to determine cell safety in preclinical models and then a quick move to the clinic where patient trials will show if there is any efficacy. Here, we provide a critical review of current clinical trials using either mesenchymal or neural stem cells to treat ALS patients. Pre-clinical data leading to these trials, as well as those in development are also evaluated in terms of mechanisms of action, validity of conclusions and rationale for advancing stem cell treatment strategies for this devastating disorder.Experimental Neurology 01/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal disease involving the loss of motor neurons. Although the mechanisms responsible for motor neuron degeneration in ALS remain elusive, the development of stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of ALS has gained widespread support. Here, we review the types of stem cells being considered for therapeutic applications in ALS, and emphasize recent preclinical advances that provide supportive rationale for clinical translation. We also discuss early trials from around the world translating cellular therapies to ALS patients, and offer important considerations for future clinical trial design. Although clinical translation is still in its infancy, and additional insight into the mechanisms underlying therapeutic efficacy and the establishment of long-term safety are required, these studies represent an important first step towards the development of effective cellular therapies for the treatment of ALS. Stem Cells 2014.Stem Cells 01/2014; · 7.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), characterized by the progressive loss of both upper and lower motor neurons, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. This disease is often accompanied by a tremendous physical and emotional burden not only for the patients, but also for their families and friends as well. There is no clinically relevant treatment available for ALS. To date, only one Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug, Riluzole, licensed 18 years ago, has been proven to marginally prolong patients' survival without improving the quality of their lives. Because of the lack of an effective drug treatment and the promising outcomes from several preclinical studies, researchers have highlighted this disease as a suitable candidate for stem cell therapy. This review article highlights the finding of key preclinical studies that present a rationale for the use of different types of stem cells for the treatment of ALS, and the most recent updates on the stem cell-based ALS clinical trials around the world.Neurology India 05/2014; 62(3):239-48. · 1.04 Impact Factor