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Blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) alterations, including capillary rupture, have been demonstrated in animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ALS patients. To date, treatment to restore BSCB in ALS is underexplored. Here, we evaluated whether intravenous transplantation of human bone marrow CD34+ (hBM34+) cells into symptomatic ALS mice leads to restoration of capillary integrity in the spinal cord as determined by detection of microhemorrhages. Three different doses of hBM34+ cells (5 × 104, 5 × 105 or 1 × 106) or media were intravenously injected into symptomatic G93A SOD1 mice at 13 weeks of age. Microhemorrhages were determined in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords of mice at 4 weeks post-treatment, as revealed by Perls’ Prussian blue staining for ferric iron. Numerous microhemorrhages were observed in the gray and white matter of the spinal cords in media-treated mice, with a greater number of capillary ruptures within the ventral horn of both segments. In cell-treated mice, microhemorrhage numbers in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords were inversely related to administered cell doses. In particular, the pervasive microvascular ruptures determined in the spinal cords in late symptomatic ALS mice were significantly decreased by the highest cell dose, suggestive of BSCB repair by grafted hBM34+ cells. The study results provide translational outcomes supporting transplantation of hBM34+ cells at an optimal dose as a potential therapeutic strategy for BSCB repair in ALS patients.

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Oncotarget, v. 9, issue 12, p. 10621-10634

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