Neural stem cells genetically modified to overexpress Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase enhance amelioration of ischemic stroke in mice

Hiroyuki Sakata, Kuniyasu Niizuma, Takuma Wakai, Purnima Narasimhan, Carolina M. Maier, Pak H. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: The harsh host brain microenvironment caused by production of reactive oxygen species after ischemic reperfusion injury offers a significant challenge to survival of transplanted neural stem cells (NSCs) after ischemic stroke. Copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is a specific antioxidant enzyme that counteracts superoxide anions. We have investigated whether genetic manipulation to overexpress SOD1 enhances survival of grafted stem cells and accelerates amelioration of ischemic stroke. METHODS-: NSCs genetically modified to overexpress or downexpress SOD1 were administered intracerebrally 2 days after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Histological and behavioral tests were examined from Days 0 to 28 after stroke. RESULTS-: Overexpression of SOD1 suppressed production of superoxide anions after ischemic reperfusion injury and reduced NSC death after transplantation. In contrast, downexpression of SOD1 promoted superoxide generation and increased oxidative stress-mediated NSC death. Transplantation of SOD1-overexpressing NSCs enhanced angiogenesis in the ischemic border zone through upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor. Moreover, grafted SOD1-overexpressing NSCs reduced infarct size and improved behavioral performance compared with NSCs that were not genetically modified. CONCLUSIONS-: Our findings reveal a strong involvement of SOD1 expression in NSC survival after ischemic reperfusion injury. We propose that conferring antioxidant properties on NSCs by genetic manipulation of SOD1 is a potential approach for enhancing the effectiveness of cell transplantation therapy in ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2423-2429
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept


  • copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase
  • ischemic stroke
  • neural stem cell
  • neuroprotection


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