, 4:116,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Sep 2013

A novel method for efficient delivery of stem cells to the ischemic brain

Abstract

Introduction

Rat middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model is the most commonly used animal model in ischemic stroke studies. In the model, to increase the amount of stem cells or drugs to enter the brain after delivery into the internal carotid artery (ICA), the pterygopalatine artery (PPA) is occluded. However, PPA occlusion is a technically demanding procedure which often causes complications.

Methods

In this study, we developed an ICA injection needle to facilitate easy and efficient delivery of stem cells to the ischemic brain through the ICA without the need of PPA occlusion. We injected methylene blue and fluorescence dye DiI-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells (DiI-hMSCs) into the ICA in rats with the ICA injection needle (without PPA ligation) or the conventional micro-injection needle (with PPA ligation) and assessed their distributions.

Results

When methylene blue was injected, evident blue stains were found in the brain of the injection side particularly the middle cerebral artery (MCA)-supplied areas but not in the PPA supplied areas. Similarly, when DiI-hMSCs were injected, the cells largely appeared in the MCA-supplied tissues, which were similar in quantity compared to conventional micro-injection needle injection with PPA occlusion. Moreover, hMSCs injected with the ICA needle or the micro-injection needle similarly improved the functional recovery of the infarcted brain.

Conclusions

Our results indicate that the ICA injection needle is easy to use and efficient in delivering cells to the ischemic brain tissue in rat MCAO model.