Neuroprotective and behavioral efficacy of nerve growth factor-transfected hippocampal progenitor cell transplants after experimental traumatic brain injury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECT: Immortalized neural progenitor cells derived from embryonic rat hippocampus (HiB5), were transduced ex vivo with the gene for mouse nerve growth factor (NGF) to secrete NGF (NGF-HiB5) at 2 ng/hr/10(5) cells in culture. METHODS: Fifty-nine male Wistar rats weighing 300 to 370 g each were anesthetized with 60 mg/kg sodium pentobarbital and subjected to lateral fluid-percussion brain injury of moderate severity (2.3-2.4 atm, 34 rats) or sham injury (25 rats). At 24 hours postinjury, 2 microl (150,000 cells/microl) of [3H]thymidine-labeled NGF-HiB5 cells were transplanted stereotactically into three individual sites in the cerebral cortex adjacent to the injury site (14 rats). Separate groups of brain-injured rats received nontransfected (naive [n])-HiB5 cells (12 animals) or cell suspension vehicle (eight animals). One week postinjury, animals underwent neurological evaluation for motor function and cognition (Morris water maze) and were killed for histological, autoradiographic, and immunocytochemical analysis. Viable HiB5 cell grafts were identified in all animals, together with reactive microglia and macrophages located throughout the periinjured parenchyma and grafts (OX-42 immunohistochemistry). Brain-injured animals transplanted with either NGF-HiB5 or n-HiB5 cells displayed significantly improved neuromotor function (p < 0.05) and spatial learning behavior (p < 0.005) compared with brain-injured animals receiving microinjections of vehicle alone. A significant reduction in hippocampal CA3 cell death was observed in brain-injured animals receiving transplants of NGF-HiB5 cells compared with those receiving n-HiB5 cells or vehicle (p < 0.025). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that immortalized neural stem cells that have been retrovirally transduced to produce NGF can markedly improve cognitive and neuromotor function and rescue hippocampal CA3 neurons when transplanted into the injured brain during the acute posttraumatic period.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology
  • Surgery


  • stem cell, growth factor, traumatic brain injury, transplantation, neuroprotection, gene therapy, rat
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Neurology, Lund (013027000), Laboratory for Experimental Brain Research (013041000), Neurobiology (013212024), Neurosurgery (013026000)