Intra-arterial transplantation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) improves behavioral deficits and alters gene expression in rodent stroke model

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Stroke is a multi-factorial polygenic disease and is a major cause of death and adult disability. Administration of bone marrow stem cells protects ischemic rat brain by facilitating recovery of neurological functions. But the molecular mechanism of stem cells action and their effect on gene expression is not well explored. In this study, we have transplanted 1 × 106 human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) in middle cerebral artery occluded (MCAo) adult male Wistar rats through intracarotid artery route at 24 h after surgery. Motor behavioral tests (rotarod and open field) were performed to assess the changes in motor functions at day 0 and day1, 4, 8 and 14. The expression of studied genes at mRNA and protein level was quantified by using Q-PCR and western blotting, respectively. Further, we have assessed the methylation pattern of promoter of these genes by using methylation-specific PCR. Data were analyzed statistically and correlated. A significant improvement in behavioral deficits was observed in stem cells treated group after 14th day post stroke. Significantly (p < 0.05) increased mRNA and protein levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor and ANP genes in hBMMSCs treated group along with decrease in methylation level at their promoter was observed. On the other hand, significantly decreased mRNA and protein level of TSP1 and WNK1 in hBMMSCs treated group was observed. In conclusion, hBMMSCs administration significantly improves the behavioral deficits by improving motor and locomotor coordination. The promoter of TSP1 and WNK1 genes was found to be hyper-methylated in hBMMSCs group resulting in their decreased expression while the promoter of ANP and brain derived neurotrophic factor was found to be hypo-methylated. This study might shed a light on how hBMMSCs affect the gene expression by modulating methylation status.

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