Minimally invasive transplantation of iPSC-derived ALDHhiSSCloVLA4+ neural stem cells effectively improves the phenotype of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis model.

Human molecular genetics

PubMedID: 24006477

Nizzardo M, Simone C, Rizzo F, Ruggieri M, Salani S, Riboldi G, Faravelli I, Zanetta C, Bresolin N, Comi GP, Corti S. Minimally invasive transplantation of iPSC-derived ALDHhiSSCloVLA4+ neural stem cells effectively improves the phenotype of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis model. Hum Mol Genet. 2013;.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological disease characterised by the degeneration of motor neurons. Currently, there is no effective therapy for ALS. Stem cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic strategy for ALS, and the reprogramming of adult somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) represents a novel cell source. In this study, we isolated a specific neural stem cell (NSC) population from human iPSCs based on high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, low side scatter, and integrin VLA4 positivity. We assessed the therapeutic effects of these NSCs on the phenotype of ALS mice after intrathecal or intravenous injections. Transplanted NSCs migrated and engrafted into the central nervous system via both routes of injection. Compared with control ALS, treated ALS mice exhibited improved neuromuscular function and motor unit pathology and significantly increased life span, in particular with the systemic administration of NSCs (15%). These positive effects are linked to multiple mechanisms, including production of neurotrophic factors and reduction of micro- and macrogliosis. NSCs induced a decrease in astrocyte number through the activation of the vanilloid receptor TRPV1. We conclude that minimally invasive injections of iPSC-derived NSCs can exert a therapeutic effect in ALS. This study contributes to advancements in iPSC-mediated approaches for treating ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.