Human Dental Pulp-Derived Stem Cells Protect Against Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury in Neonatal Mice

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Background and Purpose—

Perinatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) has high rates of neurological deficits and mortality. So far, no effective treatment for HI brain injury has been developed. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects of stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) for the treatment of neonatal HI brain injury.


Unilateral HI was induced in postnatal day 5 (P5) mice. Twenty-four hours later, SHED, human skin fibroblasts, or serum-free conditioned medium derived from these cells was injected into the injured brain. The effects of cell transplantation or conditioned medium injection on the animals’ neurological and pathophysiological recovery were evaluated.


Transplanted SHED, but not fibroblasts, significantly reduced the HI-induced brain-tissue loss and improved neurological function. SHED also improved the survival of the HI mice. The engrafted SHED rarely differentiated into neural lineages; however, their transplantation inhibited the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, increased the expression of anti-inflammatory ones, and significantly reduced apoptosis. Notably, the intracerebral administration of SHED-conditioned medium also significantly improved the neurological outcome, inhibited apoptosis, and reduced tissue loss.


SHED transplantation into the HI-injured brain resulted in remarkable neurological and pathophysiological recovery. Our findings indicate that paracrine factors derived from SHED support a neuroprotective microenvironment in the HI brain. SHED graft and SHED-conditioned medium may provide a novel neuroprotective therapy for HI.

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