C.I. Fernandez, E. Alberti, Y. Mendoza, J. Collazo, L. Martinez, J.C. Rosillo

Impairments in motor coordination and cognition in normal and pathological aging are often accompanied by structural changes i.e. loss of synapses and neurons. Also, it has been recently shown that bone marrow stem cells can give origin to cells of different tissues, including neural cells. Given the therapeutic implications of increasing health and functional possibilities in the aged brain, we have tested the effects of rat femur bone marrow stem cells, rBMSCs, grafting to the striatum hippocampus of aged rats with motor or cognitive deficits respectively. Bone marrow cells were transduced with an adenovirus driving the expression of green fluorescence protein GFP and other classical stains in order to determine their migration, engraftment, differentiation and associated behavioral recovery. Five weeks after it, control and grafted rats were re-evaluated at MWM test, Passive avoidance, Open field, motor coordination and Marshall tests and perfused. Brains were processed and analyzed for fluorescent proteins expression. GFP was detected in cells with some differentiation degree into like-neural cells. Their exact phenotype is yet to be determined. A significant functional recovery was observed 6w after grafting, suggesting a trophic interaction between rBMSCs and the aged/dystrophic host brain, or with the host brain progenitor cells and/or by increasing the number of functional cells at striatum or hippocampus, suggesting the aging brain keep its functional plasticity as well as that BMSCs are interesting candidates for cell replacement therapies in neurodegenerative disorders.

Keywords (Optional): 
stem cells
neural grafting
sensorimotor function