Neural stem/progenitor cells initiate the formation of cellular networks that provide neuroprotection by growth factor-modulated antioxidant expression

Lalitha Madhavan, Václav Ourednik, Jitka Ourednik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations


Recent studies indicate that transplanted neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPs) can interact with the environment of the central nervous system and stimulate protection and regeneration of host cells exposed to oxidative stress. Here, a set of animals grafted with NSPs and treated with 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) exhibited reduced behavioral symptoms and less severe damage of striatal cytoarchitecture than sham transplanted controls including better survival of neurons. Sites of tissue sparing correlated with the distribution pattern of donor cells in the host brain. To investigate the cellular and molecular bases of this phenomenon, we treated cocultures of NSPs and primary neural cell cultures with 3-NP to induce oxidative stress and to study NSP-dependent activation of antioxidant mechanisms and cell survival. Proactive presence of NSPs significantly improved cell viability by interfering with production of free radicals and increasing the expression of neuroprotective factors. This process was accompanied by elevated expression of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in a network of NSPs and local astrocytes. Intriguingly, both in vitro and in vivo, enhanced growth factor secretion stimulated a robust upregulation of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) in neurons and resulted in their improved survival. Our findings thus reveal a so far unrecognized mechanism of interaction between NSPs and surrounding cells accompanying neuroprotection: through mutual, NSP-triggered stimulation of growth factor production and activation of antioxidant mechanisms, cellular networks may shield the local environment from the arriving impact of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-265
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • 3-Nitropropionic acid
  • Growth factor
  • Huntington's disease
  • Neuroprotection
  • Regeneration
  • Striatum
  • Superoxide dismutase
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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