Neuroglial precursor cells (NPC) possess immune-modulatory properties by which they prevent immune-mediated injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). It is unclear whether cell transplantation in a clinical-relevant setup induces ongoing therapeutic effects in a chronic-active model of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). We examined whether human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived NPCs inhibit progressive EAE in Biozzi AB/H mice, manifesting with chronic-active neuroinflammation and demyelinated plaques. hESC-derived NPCs were propagated for 6–8 weeks as spheres enriched for Olig2+ cells to switch from neuronal to glial commitment and to enrich for oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. NPC were transplanted intracerebroventricularly at 30 days post-EAE induction, after the acute relapse. We evaluated effects of cell transplantation on clinical parameters, neuroinflammation, myelination, and axonal loss. Transplanted animals exhibited a significantly milder disease, reduced neuroinflammation, reduced demyelination, and reduced axonal loss as compared to control EAE mice. Toluidine-blue semi-thin staining showed a bystander neuroprotective effect of human precursor cells preventing the loss of myelinated fibers in superficial layer of the cervical dorsal funiculus. Human Olig2+ cells were detected along spinal cord meninges after 65 days of follow-up. In co-cultures in vitro, Olig2+ human precursors inhibited Concanavalin A–induced murine T cell activation and proliferation. To conclude, glial-committed human NPC induce ongoing immune-regulatory and neuroprotective effects, following transplantation into mice with a clinical-relevant model of chronic-active MS and during established disease, entering the chronic phase. These properties highlight the therapeutic potential of human NPC transplantation in chronic MS and their delivery via the cerebrospinal fluid.
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© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Human embryonic stem cells
- Intracerebroventricular transplantation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neural precursor cells