Scientific reports

Autologous transplantation of intestine-isolated glia cells improves neuropathology and restores cognitive deficits in β amyloid-induced neurodegeneration.

PMID 26940982


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by chronic deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain, progressive neurodegeneration and consequent cognitive and behavioral deficits that typify the disease. Astrocytes are pivotal in this process because they are activated in the attempt to digest Aβ which starts a neuroinflammatory response that further contributes to neurodegeneration. The intestine is a good source of astrocytes-like cells-referred to as enteric glial cells (EGCs). Here we show that the autologous transplantation of EGCs into the brain of Aβ-injected rats arrested the development of the disease after their engraftment. Transplanted EGCs showed anti-amyloidogenic activity, embanked Aβ-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, and released neutrophic factors. The overall result was the amelioration of the pathological hallmarks and the cognitive and behavioral deficits typical of Aβ-associated disease. Our data indicate that autologous EGCs transplantation may provide an efficient alternative for applications in cell-replacement therapies to treat neurodegeneration in AD.