Human umbilical cord stem cells reduces the damaging effects of stroke in rats. Findings may have implications towards treatment of human stroke victims.
Researchers from the Cellular and Molecular Imaging Laboratory in Detroit have demonstrated that stem/progenitor cells derived from human umbilical cord blood (hUCB) improve functional recovery in stroke models. A specific type of stem cells isolated from human cord blood (AC133+ EPCs) demonstrated that the transplanted cells accumulate in stroke affected areas of the brain. MRI demonstrated that the accumulated transplanted cells are associated with a decrease in stroke volume. Possible mechanisms may involve increased endogenous proliferation, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis as a consequence of the presence of the transplanted cord blood stem cells. The scientists reporting the findings conclude that transplanted cells selectively migrate to the ischemic brain parenchyma, where they exerted a therapeutic effect on the extent of tissue damage, regeneration, and time course of stroke resolution.