Intra-Arterial Delivery of Neural Stem Cells to the Rat and Mouse Brain: Application to Cerebral Ischemia

Bei Zhang, Binoy Joseph, Kathryn E Saatman, Lei Chen
Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE 2020 June 26, (160)
Neural stem cell (NSC) therapy is an emerging innovative treatment for stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders. As compared to intracranial delivery, intra-arterial administration of NSCs is less invasive and produces a more diffuse distribution of NSCs within the brain parenchyma. Further, intra-arterial delivery allows the first-pass effect in the brain circulation, lessening the potential for trapping of cells in peripheral organs, such as liver and spleen, a complication associated with peripheral injections. Here, we detail the methodology, in both mice and rats, for delivery of NSCs through the common carotid artery (mouse) or external carotid artery (rat) to the ipsilateral hemisphere after an ischemic stroke. Using GFP-labeled NSCs, we illustrate the widespread distribution achieved throughout the rodent ipsilateral hemisphere at 1 d, 1 week and 4 weeks after postischemic delivery, with a higher density in or near the ischemic injury site. In addition to long-term survival, we show evidence of differentiation of GFP-labeled cells at 4 weeks. The intra-arterial delivery approach described here for NSCs can also be used for administration of therapeutic compounds, and thus has broad applicability to varied CNS injury and disease models across multiple species.

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