Detection of endothelial cell-associated human DNA reveals transplanted human bone marrow stem cell engraftment into CNS capillaries of ALS mice

Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis, Kayla J. Boccio, Jared Ehrhart, Paul R. Sanberg, Stanley H. Appel, Cesario V. Borlongan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Repairing the altered blood-CNS-barrier in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is imperative to prevent entry of detrimental blood-borne substances into the CNS. Cell transplantation with the goal of replacing damaged endothelial cells (ECs) may be a new therapeutic approach for barrier restoration. We showed positive effects of human bone marrow-derived CD34+ cells (hBM34+) and endothelial progenitor cells (hBM-EPCs) intravenous transplantation into symptomatic G93A SOD1 mutant mice on barrier reparative processes. These benefits mainly occurred by administered cells engraftment into vascular walls in ALS mice; however, additional studies are needed to confirm cell engraftment within capillaries. The aim of this investigation was to determine the presence of human DNA within microvascular ECs isolated from the CNS tissues of G93A SOD1 mutant mice treated with human bone marrow-derived stem cells. The CNS tissues were obtained from previously cell-treated and media-treated G93A mice at 17 weeks of age. Real-time PCR (RT-PCR) assay for detection of human DNA was performed in ECs isolated from mouse CNS tissue. Viability of these ECs was determined using the LIVE/DEAD viability/cytotoxicity assay. Results showed appropriate EC isolation as verified by immunoexpression of endothelial cell marker. Human DNA was detected in isolated ECs from cell-treated mice with greater concentrations in mice receiving hBM-EPCs vs. hBM34+ cells. Also, higher numbers of live ECs were determined in mice treated with hBM-EPCs vs. hBM34+ cells or media-injection. Results revealed that transplanted human cells engrafted into mouse capillary walls and efficaciously maintained endothelium function. These study results support our previous findings showing that intravenous administration of hBM-EPCs into symptomatic ALS mice was more beneficial than hBM34+ cell treatment in repair of barrier integrity, likely due to replacement of damaged ECs in mouse CNS vessels. Based on this evidence, hBM-EPCs may be advanced as a cell-specific approach for ALS therapy through restored CNS barrier integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
StatePublished - May 2021


  • ALS
  • Blood-CNS-barrier
  • Endothelial cells
  • G93A SOD1 mice
  • Human bone marrow-derived stem cells
  • LIVE/DEAD viability/cytotoxicity assay
  • Real-time PCR
  • Repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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