PloS one

Human motor neurons generated from neural stem cells delay clinical onset and prolong life in ALS mouse model.

PMID 24844281


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common adult onset motor neuron disease. The etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of the disease remain unknown, and there is no effective treatment. Here we show that intrathecal transplantation of human motor neurons derived from neural stem cells (NSCs) in spinal cord of the SOD1G93A mouse ALS model delayed disease onset and extended life span of the animals. When HB1.F3.Olig2 (F3.Olig2) cells, stable immortalized human NSCs encoding the human Olig2 gene, were treated with sonic hedgehog (Shh) protein for 5-7 days, the cells expressed motor neuron cell type-specific phenotypes Hb9, Isl-1 and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). These F3.Olig2-Shh human motor neurons were transplanted intrathecally in L5-L6 spinal cord of SOD1G93A mice, and at 4 weeks post-transplantation, transplanted F3.Olig2-Shh motor neurons expressing the neuronal phenotype markers NF, MAP2, Hb9, and ChAT were found in the ventral horn of the spinal cord. Onset of clinical signs in ALS mice with F3.Olig2-Shh motor neuron implants was delayed for 7 days and life span of animals was significantly extended by 20 days. Our results indicate that this treatment modality of intrathecal transplantation of human motor neurons derived from NSCs might be of value in the treatment of ALS patients without significant adverse effects.