Stem cell transplantation is a promising therapy for neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Among stem cell varieties, human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) possess many advantages, add a differential potential into neural cells, secrete a set of trophic factors and cytokines, regulate immunological function, and have therapeutic potential for neurological diseases. In this study, hUC-MSCs transplantation was used to treat five NMO patients with follow-up for 18 months including evaluation of Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) levels, clinical course, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics, adverse events, and so on. Among the five cases, four showed therapeutic improvement after hUC-MSCs treatment. Both symptoms and signs improved and relapse frequencies were reduced. MRI characteristics also showed decreased volume and severity of lesions, while few adverse events occurred. The results suggest that hUC-MSCs transplantation appear safe and might be effective for NMO treatment in the near future. In addition, according to flow cytometry assay (FACS) results, B cells of blood were inhibited while Tcells increased after treatment, indicating an immune-related mechanism.
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Ann Hematol. 2011 Mar;90(3):343-8. doi: 10.1007/s00277-010-1071-5. Epub 2010 Sep 25.