In the ongoing search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a burgeoning branch of medicine is bringing new hope. Stem cell therapies are already being used to treat various cancers and disorders of the blood and immune system.
In the study, publishing this month in Cell Reports, the researchers demonstrate that transplanting hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells was effective in rescuing multiple signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s in a mouse model of the disease.
Mice that received healthy hematopoietic stem cells showed preserved memory and cognition, reduced neuroinflammation and significantly less β-amyloid build-up compared to other Alzheimer’s mice.
Mishra and her colleagues performed systemic transplantations of healthy wild-type hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells into Alzheimer’s mice and found that the transplanted cells did differentiate into microglia-like cells in the brain.
The researchers then evaluated the animals’ behavior and found that memory loss and neurocognitive impairment were completely prevented in mice that received the stem cell transplant.
These mice showed better object recognition and risk perception, as well as normal anxiety levels and locomotor activity, compared to non-treated Alzheimer’s mice.
Finally, the researchers used transcriptomic analyses to measure the expression of different genes in treated and non-treated Alzheimer’s mice. Those that had received the stem cell therapy had less cortical expression of genes associated with diseased microglia, and less hippocampal expression of genes associated with diseased endothelial cells.
Altogether, the transplantation of healthy hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells led to enhanced microglia health, which in turn protected against multiple levels of Alzheimer’s pathology.
Future studies will further explore how the healthy transplanted cells produced such significant improvements, and whether similar transplant strategies can be used to alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms in humans.
Priyanka Mishra, Alexander Silva, Jay Sharma, Jacqueline Nguyen, Donald P. Pizzo, Denise Hinz, Debashis Sahoo, Stephanie Cherqui. Rescue of Alzheimer’s disease phenotype in a mouse model by transplantation of wild-type hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Cell Reports, 2023; 42 (8): 112956 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112956
University of California – San Diego. (2023, August 9). Stem cell therapy rescues symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 9, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/08/230809164724.htm
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