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Kenjiro Fujiwara, Isao Date, Tetsuro Shingo, Hideyuki Yoshida, Kazuki Kobayashi, Akira Takeuchi, Akimasa Yano, Takashi Tamiya, and Takashi Ohmoto

Object. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of grafting encapsulated basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)—secreting cells in rat brains subjected to ischemic injury.

Methods. Two cell lines were used for encapsulated grafting in this experiment, namely, a bFGF-secreting cell line established by genetic manipulation of baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells, and a naive BHK cell line. Forty-seven Sprague—Dawley rats were used in this experiment. The animals were divided into the following three groups: those receiving grafts of encapsulated bFGF-secreting cells (BHK-bFGF group); those with grafts of encapsulated naive BHK cells (naive BHK group); and those with no grafts (control group). The authors implanted encapsulated cells into the right striatum of host rats in the BHK-bFGF and naive BHK groups. Six days after grafting, the host and control animals underwent permanent right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) with an intraluminal suture procedure. The infarct volume was evaluated using 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining and computerized image analysis 24 hours after MCAO. Fragmentations of DNA in the host brains were analyzed using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling 12 hours after MCAO.

The authors found that the infarct volume in the BHK-bFGF group was reduced by approximately 30% compared with that in the naive BHK and control groups. In the ischemic penumbral area, the number of apoptotic cells in the BHK-bFGF group was significantly decreased compared with that in the other groups.

Conclusions. The grafting of encapsulated BHK bFGF-secreting cells protected the brain from ischemic injury. Encapsulation and grafting of genetically engineered cells such as bFGF-secreting cells is thus thought to be a useful method for protection against cerebral ischemia.

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Takao Yasuhara, Tetsuro Shingo, Kenichiro Muraoka, Kazuki Kobayashi, Akira Takeuchi, Akimasa Yano, Yuan WenJi, Masahiro Kameda, Toshihiro Matsui, Yasuyuki Miyoshi, and Isao Date

Object. Glial cell line—derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has been shown to confer neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic neurons. The authors investigated the effects of GDNF on 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)—treated dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo.

Methods. First, the authors examined how 1, 10, or 100 ng/ml of GDNF, administered to cells 24 hours before, simultaneously with, or 2 or 4 hours after 6-OHDA was added, affected dopaminergic neurons. In a primary culture of E14 murine ventral mesencephalic neurons, earlier treatment with the higher dosage of GDNF suppressed 6-OHDA—induced loss of dopaminergic neurons better than later treatment. Next, the authors examined whether continuous infusion of GDNF at earlier time points would demonstrate a greater neuroprotective effect in a rat model of Parkinson disease (PD). They established a human GDNF-secreting cell line, called BHK-GDNF, and encapsulated the cells into hollow fibers. The encapsulated cells were unilaterally implanted into the striatum of adult rats 1 week before; simultaneously with; or 1, 2, or 4 weeks after 6-OHDA was given to induce lesions of the same striatum. With the earlier transplantation of a BHK-GDNF capsule, there was a significant reduction in the number of amphetamine-induced rotations displayed by the animals. Rats that had received earlier implantation of BHK-GDNF capsules displayed more tyrosine hydroxylase—positive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and a tendency for glial proliferation in the striatum.

Conclusions. These neuroprotective effects may be related to glial proliferation and signaling via the GDNF receptor α1. The results of this study support a role for this grafting technique in the treatment of PD.

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Akimasa Yano, Tetsuro Shingo, Akira Takeuchi, Takao Yasuhara, Kazuki Kobayashi, Kazuya Takahashi, Kenichiro Muraoka, Toshihiro Matsui, Yasuyuki Miyoshi, Hirofumi Hamada, and Isao Date

Object

The authors evaluated the neuroprotective and angiogenic effects of a continuous and low-dose infusion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-165 on cerebral ischemia in rats.

Methods

The authors introduced VEGF complementary (c)DNA into baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells and established a cell line that produces human VEGF165 (BHK-VEGF). The BHK-VEGF cells and BHK cells that had been transfected with an expression vector that did not contain human VEGF165 cDNA (BHK-control) were encapsulated. Both capsules were implanted into rat striata. Six days after capsule implantation, the right middle cerebral artery (MCA) was occluded. Some animals were killed 24 hours after occlusion to measure the volume of the resulting infarct and to perform immunohistochemical studies. Other animals were used for subsequent behavioral studies 1, 7, and 14 days after MCA occlusion.

The encapsulated BHK-VEGF cell grafts significantly reduced the volume of the infarct and the number of apoptotic cells in the penumbral area when compared with the effect of the BHK-control cell capsule. In addition, angiogenesis and gliogenesis significantly increased in the region around the capsule in animals that received BHK-VEGF cell capsules without an increase in focal cerebral blood flow; this did not occur in animals that received the BHK-control cell capsule. In behavioral studies rats that received the BHK-VEGF cell capsule displayed significant recovery while participating in the accelerating rotarod test after stroke.

Conclusions

Continuous intracerebral administration of low-dose VEGF165 through encapsulated grafts of VEGF-producing cells produces neuroprotective and angiogenic effects. These effects improve subsequent motor function.