Analysis of the therapeutic potential of different administration routes and frequencies of human mesenchymal stromal cells in the SOD1G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Cellular therapy represents a novel option for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Its major aim is the generation of a protective environment for degenerating motor neurons. Mesenchymal stromal cells secrete different growth factors and have antiapoptotic and immunomodulatory properties. They can easily and safely be isolated from human bone marrow and are therefore considered promising therapeutic candidates. In the present study, we compared intraventricular application of human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) versus single and repeated intraspinal injections in the mutant SOD1G93A transgenic ALS mouse model. We observed significant reduction of lifespan of animals treated by intraventricular hMSC injection compared with the vehicle treated control group, accompanied by changes in weight, general condition, and behavioural assessments. A potential explanation for these rather surprising deleterious effects lies in increased microgliosis detected in the hMSC treated animals. Repeated intraspinal injection at two time points resulted in a slight but not significant increase in survival and significant improvement of motor performance although no hMSC-induced changes of motor neuron numbers, astrogliosis, and microgliosis were detected. Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction showed reduced expression of endothelial growth factor in animals having received hMSCs twice compared with the vehicle treated control group. hMSCs were detectable at the injection site at Day 20 after injection into the spinal cord but no longer at Day 70. Intraspinal injection of hMSCs may therefore be a more promising option for the treatment of ALS than intraventricular injection and repeated injections might be necessary to obtain substantial therapeutic benefit.