Acupuncture Improved Neurological Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury by Activating BDNF/TrkB Pathway
Stem cell transplantation holds great potential for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, the micro-environment of reduced oxygen and accumulated toxins leads to low survival rates of grafted cells, which dramatically limits their clinical application. Mild hypothermia has been demonstrated to improve the micro-environment after severe TBI. Thus, we speculate that combinational therapy of mild hypothermia may promote survival of grafted cells, especially temperature-sensitive stem cells, which show the most activity in mild temperatures. In this study, we first isolated mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord (UCSMCs) and generated the temperature-sensitive UCSMCs (tsUCSMCs) by infection with a retrovirus carrying the temperature-sensitive tsA58 SV40 LT antigen gene. We demonstrated that tsUCSMCs grew and proliferated with more activity at 33°C than at 37°C by counting cell numbers with a hematocytometer, measuring the cell cycle with flow cytometry, and detecting proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) with immunofluorescence staining. Thereafter, we established the rat severe TBI model by fluid percussion, and injected PBS, UCSMCs, or tsUCSMCs into the injured region, and subject the animals to normothermia or mild hypothermia (33°C). We found that, compared with UCSMC or tsUCSMC treatment alone, their combination with hypothermia could significantly improve motor and cognitive function with more survival of the grafted cells. Furthermore, we observed that combined therapy with hypothermia and tsUCSMCs exerted the most protective effect on the recovery of neurological function of all the tested treatments, with the highest survival and proliferation rates, and the lowest apoptosis rate. Thus this may represent a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of severe TBI.