Spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1 (SMARD1) is a genetic motor neuron disease affecting infants. This condition is caused by mutations in the IGHMBP2 gene and currently has no cure. Stem cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic strategy for motor neuron diseases such as SMARD1, exerting beneficial effects both by replacing cells and by providing support to endogenous motor neurons.
In this work, the researchers demonstrate that human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) selected for the expression of specific markers, namely, Lewis X, CXCR4 and beta 1 integrin, and pretreated with neurotrophic factors and apoptosis/necroptosis inhibitors were able to effectively migrate and engraft into the host parenchyma after administration into the cerebrospinal fluid in a SMARD1 mouse model.
The authors were able to detect donor cells in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and observe improvements in neuropathological features, particularly preservation of the integrity of the motor unit, that were correlated with amelioration of the SMARD1 disease phenotype in terms of neuromuscular function and lifespan.
This minimally invasive stem cell approach can confer major advantages in the context of cell-mediated therapy for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
CSF transplantation of a specific iPSC-derived neural stem cell subpopulation ameliorates the disease phenotype in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1. Forotti G, Nizzardo M, Bucchia M, Ramirez A, Trombetta E, Gatti S, Bresolin N, Comi GP, Corti S. Exp Neurol. 2019 Nov;321:113041.