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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study is supported by a grant from BIRAX—The British Council, The Judy and Sidney Swartz Foundation, and MS Society UK.
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Human embryonic stem cells
- Intracerebroventricular transplantation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neural precursor cells