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Transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells decreases oxidative stress, apoptosis, and hippocampal damage in brain of a spontaneous stroke model

Stroke is the most common cause of motor disabilities and is a major cause of mortality worldwide. Adult stem cells have been shown to be effective against neuronal degeneration through mechanisms that include both the recovery of neurotransmitter activity and a decrease in apoptosis and oxidative stress. We chose the lineage stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHRSP) as a model for stem cell therapy. SHRSP rats can develop such severe hypertension that they generally suffer a stroke at approximately 1 year of age. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) decrease apoptotic death and oxidative stress in existing SHRSP brain tissue. The results of qRT-PCR assays showed higher levels of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 gene in the MSC-treated animals, compared with untreated. Our study also showed that superoxide, apoptotic cells, and by-products of lipid peroxidation decreased in MSC-treated SHRSP to levels similar those found in the animal controls, Wistar Kyoto rats. In addition, we saw a repair of morphological damage at the hippocampal region after MSC transplantation. These data suggest that MSCs have neuroprotective and antioxidant potential in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats.