Theranostics 2019; 9(4):1029-1046. doi:10.7150/thno.29868

Research Paper

Human parthenogenetic neural stem cell grafts promote multiple regenerative processes in a traumatic brain injury model

Jea-Young Lee1, Sandra Acosta1, Julian P. Tuazon1, Kaya Xu1, Hung Nguyen1, Trenton Lippert1, Michael G. Liska1, Andrey Semechkin2, Ibon Garitaonandia2, Rodolfo Gonzalez2, Russell Kern2,3, Cesario V. Borlongan1,✉

1. Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, USF Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL.
2. International Stem Cell Corporation, Carlsbad, CA.
3. Cyto Therapeutics, Melbourne, Australia.


International Stem Cell Corporation human parthenogenetic neural stem cells (ISC-hpNSC) have potential therapeutic value for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we demonstrate the behavioral and histological effects of transplanting ISC-hpNSC intracerebrally in an animal model of TBI.

Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats underwent a moderate controlled cortical impact TBI surgery. Transplantation occurred at 72 h post-TBI with functional readouts of behavioral and histological deficits conducted during the subsequent 3-month period after TBI. We characterized locomotor, neurological, and cognitive performance at baseline (before TBI), then on days 0, 1, 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 (locomotor and neurological), and on days 28-30, 58-60, and 88-90 (cognitive) after TBI. Following completion of behavioral testing at 3 months post-TBI, animals were euthanized by transcardial perfusion and brains harvested to histologically characterize the extent of brain damage. Neuronal survival was revealed by Nissl staining, and stem cell engraftment and host tissue repair mechanisms such as the anti-inflammatory response in peri-TBI lesion areas were examined by immunohistochemical analyses.

Results: We observed that TBI groups given high and moderate doses of ISC-hpNSC had an improved swing bias on an elevated body swing test for motor function, increased scores on forelimb akinesia and paw grasp neurological tests, and committed significantly fewer errors on a radial arm water maze test for cognition. Furthermore, histological analyses indicated that high and moderate doses of stem cells increased the expression of phenotypic markers related to the neural lineage and myelination and decreased reactive gliosis and inflammation in the brain, increased neuronal survival in the peri-impact area of the cortex, and decreased inflammation in the spleen at 90 days post-TBI.

Conclusion: These results provide evidence that high and moderate doses of ISC-hpNSC ameliorate TBI-associated histological alterations and motor, neurological, and cognitive deficits.

Keywords: neuroprotection, traumatic brain injury, human parthenogenetic neural stem cells, inflammation, stem cell transplantation

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How to cite this article:
Lee JY, Acosta S, Tuazon JP, Xu K, Nguyen H, Lippert T, Liska MG, Semechkin A, Garitaonandia I, Gonzalez R, Kern R, Borlongan CV. Human parthenogenetic neural stem cell grafts promote multiple regenerative processes in a traumatic brain injury model. Theranostics 2019; 9(4):1029-1046. doi:10.7150/thno.29868. Available from