Stem cells linked to cognitive gain after brain injury in preclinical study

November 4, 2013

A stem cell therapy previously shown to reduce inflammation in the critical time window after traumatic brain injury also promotes lasting cognitive improvement, according to preclinical research led by Charles Cox, M.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

The research was published in today's issue of Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Cellular damage in the brain after traumatic injury can cause severe, ongoing neurological impairment and inflammation. Few pharmaceutical options exist to treat the problem. About half of patients with severe head injuries need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised .

A stem cell treatment known as multipotent adult progenitor cell (MAPC) therapy has been found to reduce inflammation in immediately after traumatic brain injury, but no one had been able to gauge its usefulness over time.

The research team led by Cox, the Children's Fund, Inc. Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery at the UTHealth Medical School, injected two groups of brain-injured mice with MAPCs two hours after the mice were injured and again 24 hours later. One group received a dose of 2 million cells per kilogram and the other a dose five times stronger.

After four months, the mice receiving the stronger dose not only continued to have less inflammation—they also made significant gains in cognitive function. A laboratory examination of the rodents' brains confirmed that those receiving the higher dose of MAPCs had better brain function than those receiving the lower dose.

"Based on our data, we saw improved spatial learning, improved motor deficits and fewer active antibodies in the mice that were given the stronger concentration of MAPCs," Cox said.

The study indicates that intravenous injection of MAPCs may in the future become a viable treatment for people with traumatic , he said.

Cox, who directs the Pediatric Surgical Translational Laboratories and Pediatric Program in Regenerative Medicine at UTHealth, is a leader in the field of autologous and blood cord for in children and adults. Results from a Phase I study were published in a March 2011 issue of Neurosurgery, the journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Cox also directs the Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Explore further: Stem cells help repair traumatic brain injury by building a 'biobridge'

Related Stories

Stem cells help repair traumatic brain injury by building a 'biobridge'

October 3, 2013
University of South Florida researchers have suggested a new view of how stem cells may help repair the brain following trauma. In a series of preclinical experiments, they report that transplanted cells appear to build a ...

Could a 'Trojan horse' better identify traumatic brain injury?

October 28, 2013
Accurately diagnosing traumatic brain injuries and concussions is difficult, as standard CT or MRI scans can't see most changes to the brain caused by these injuries.

Can traumatic brain injury impair a child's working memory?

September 26, 2013
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) during childhood can have long-term effects on cognitive and psychosocial functioning, including poor academic achievement. Pediatric TBI can cause significant deficits in working memory, as demonstrated ...

Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury

October 31, 2013
In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that the scar tissue formed by stem cells after a spinal cord injury does not impair recovery; in fact, stem cell scarring confines the damage. The findings, ...

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.