Intravenous transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) had been documented to improve functional outcome after ischemic stroke. However, the timing and appropriate cell number of transplantation to achieve better outcome after an episode of stroke remain further to be optimized.
To determine the optimal conditions, we transplanted different concentrations of BMSCs at different time points in a rat model of ischemic stroke. Infarction volume and neurological behavioral tests were performed after ischemia.
We found that transplantation of BMSCs at 3 and 24 h, but not 7 days after focal ischemia, significantly reduced the lesion volume and improved motor deficits. We also found that transplanted cells at 1 × 106 to 107, but not at 1 × 104 to 105, significantly improved functional outcome after stroke. In addition to inhibiting macrophages/microglia activation in the ischemic brain, BMSC transplantation profoundly reduced infiltration of gamma delta T (γδT) cells, which are detrimental to the ischemic brain, and significantly increased regulatory T cells (Tregs), along with altered Treg-associated cytokines in the ischemic brain.
Our data suggest that timing and cell dose of transplantation determine the therapeutic effects after focal ischemia by modulating poststroke neuroinflammation.