A novel cell transplantation protocol and its application to an ALS mouse model
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal neurodegenerative disease, which selectively affects motor neurons throughout the central nervous system. The extensive distribution of motor neurons is an obstacle to applying cell transplantation therapy for the treatment of ALS. To overcome this problem, we developed a cell transplantation method via the fourth cerebral ventricle in mice. We used mouse olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as donor cells. OECs are reported to promote regeneration and remyelination in the spinal cord, while MSCs have a capability to differentiate into several types of specific cells including neural cells. Furthermore both types of cells can be relatively easily obtained by biopsy in human. Initially, we confirmed the safety of the operative procedure and broad distribution of grafted cells in the spinal cord using wild-type mice. After transplantation, OECs distributed widely and survived as long as 100 days after transplantation, with a time-dependent depletion of cell number. In ALS model mice, OEC transplantation revealed no adverse effects but no significant differences in clinical evaluation were found between OEC-treated and non-transplanted animals. After MSC transplantation into the ALS model mice, females, but not males, showed a statistically longer disease duration than the non-transplanted controls. We conclude that intrathecal ansplantation could be a promising way to deliver donor cells to the central nervous system. Further experiments to elucidate relevant conditions for optimal outcomes are required.