Protection of Brain Injury by Amniotic Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Secreted Metabolites

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Abstract

Objectives:

To define the features of human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cell secretome and its protective properties in experimental models of acute brain injury.

Design:

Prospective experimental study.

Setting:

Laboratory research.

Subjects:

C57Bl/6 mice.

Interventions:

Mice subjected to sham or traumatic brain injury by controlled cortical impact received human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells or phosphate-buffered saline infused intracerebroventricularly or intravenously 24 hours after injury. Organotypic cortical brain slices exposed to ischemic injury by oxygen-glucose deprivation were treated with human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells or with their secretome (conditioned medium) in a transwell system.

Measurements and Main Results:

Traumatic brain injured mice receiving human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells intravenously or intracerebroventricularly showed early and lasting functional and anatomical brain protection. cortical slices injured by oxigen-glucose deprivation and treated with human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells or conditioned medium showed comparable protective effects (neuronal rescue, promotion of M2 microglia polarization, induction of trophic factors) indicating that the exposure of human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells to the injured tissue is not necessary for the release of bioactive factors. Using sequential size-exclusion and gel-filtration chromatography, we identified a conditioned medium subfraction, which specifically displays these highly protective properties and we found that this fraction was rich in bioactive molecules with molecular weight smaller than 700 Da. Quantitative RNA analysis and mass spectrometry-based peptidomics showed that the active factors are not proteins or RNAs. The metabolomic profiling of six metabolic classes identified a list of molecules whose abundance was selectively elevated in the active conditioned medium fraction.

Conclusions:

Human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cell-secreted factors protect the brain after acute injury. Importantly, a fraction rich in metabolites, and containing neither proteic nor ribonucleic molecules was protective. This study indicates the profiling of protective factors that could be useful in cell-free therapeutic approaches for acute brain injury.

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