Intracerebral Xenotransplantation of GFP Mouse Bone Marrow Stromal Cells in Intact and Stroke Rat Brain: Graft Survival and Immunologic Response

H. Irons, J. G. Lind, Chandramohan G. Wakade, G. Yu, M. Hadman, James Edwin Carroll, David C Hess, Cesar V. Borlongan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The present study characterized survival and immunologic response of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) following transplantation into intact and stroke brains. In the first study, intrastriatal transplantation of BMSC (60,000 in 3 μl) or vehicle was performed in normal adult Sprague-Dawley male rats that subsequently received daily cyclosporin A (CsA, 10 mg/kg, IP in 3 ml) or vehicle (olive oil, similar volume) starting on day of surgery up to 3 days posttransplantation. Animals were euthanized at 3 or 30 days posttransplantation and brains were processed either for green fluorescent protein (GFP) microscopy or flow cytometry (FACS). Both GFP epifluorescence and FACS scanning revealed GFP+ BMSCs in both groups of transplanted rats with or without CsA, although significantly increased (1.6- to 3-fold more) survival of GFP+ BMSCs was observed in the immunosuppressed animals. Further histologic examination revealed widespread dispersal of BMSCs away from the graft core accompanied by many long outgrowth processes in non-CsA-transplanted animals, whereas a very dense graft core, with cells expressing only sporadic short outgrowth processes, was observed in CsA-transplanted animals. There were no detectable GFP+ BMSCs in nontransplanted rats that received CsA or vehicle. Immunologic response via FACS analysis revealed a decreased presence of cytotoxic cells, characterized by near complete absence of CD8+ cells, and lack of activation depicted by low CD69 expression in CsA-treated transplanted animals. In contrast, elevated levels of CD8+ cells and increased activation of CD69 expression were observed in transplanted animals that received vehicle alone. CD4+ helper cells were almost nondetectable in transplanted rats that received CsA, but also only minimally elevated in transplanted rats that received vehicle. Nontransplanted rats that received either CsA or vehicle displayed very minimal detectable levels of all three lymphocyte markers, In the second study, a new set of male Sprague-Dawley rats initially received bilateral stereotaxic intrastriatal transplantation of BMSCs and 3 days after were subjected to unilateral transient occlusion of middle cerebral artery. The animals were allowed to survive for 3 days after stroke without CsA immunosuppression. Epifluorescence microscopy revealed significantly higher (5-fold more) survival of transplanted GFP+ BMSCs in the stroke striatum compared with the intact striatum. The majority of the grafts remained within the original dorsal striatal transplant site, characterized by no obvious migration in intact striatum, but with long-distance migration along the ischemic penumbra in the stroke striatum. Moreover, FACS scanning analyses revealed low levels of immunologic response of grafted BMSCs in both stroke and intact striata. These results, taken together, suggest that xenotransplantation of mouse BMSCs into adult rats is feasible. Immunosuppression therapy can enhance xenograft survival and reduce graft-induced immunologic response; however, in the acute phase posttransplantation, BMSCs can survive in intact and stroke brain, and may even exhibit long-distance migration and increased outgrowth processes without immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Cell migration
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Cyclosporin A
  • Graft
  • Immunosuppression
  • Lymphocytes
  • Neural transplantation
  • Neuronal phenotype
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


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