Treatment is limited to supportive care, but stem cell therapy has received recent attention as a way to promote recovery for injuries to the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, researchers transplanted human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the brains of mice modeled with TBI to investigate whether the hosts’ immune systems and the stem cells acting in concert would enhance repair.
The researchers found that the transplanted hNSCs had a beneficial effect when the cells differentiated into a neuroprotective form (M2) of microglia (the main immune cells of the CNS) and subsequently reduced inflammatory responses generated by the injury. Their study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation. The researchers reported that the animals receiving the hNSC transplantation showed “significantly reduced accumulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP),” an indicator of axonal injury. Most importantly, the researchers observed an increase in anti-inflammatory proteins of microglial cells of the protective M2 subtype.