Survival and integration of transplanted postmitotic human neurons following experimental brain injury in immunocompetent rats

Matthew F. Philips, Judith K. Muir, Kathryn E. Saatman, Ramesh Raghupathi, Virginia M.Y. Lee, John Q. Trojanowski, Tracy K. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Object. Limitations regarding cell homogeneity and survivability do not affect neuronlike hNT cells, which are derived from a human teratocarcinoma cell line (Ntera2) that differentiates into postmitotic neurons with exposure to retinoic acid. Because NT2N neurons survive longer than 1 year after transplantation into nude mice brains, the authors grafted these cells into the brains of immunocompetent rats following lateral fluid-percussion brain injury to determine the long-term survivability of NT2N cell grafts in cortices damaged by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the therapeutic effect of NT2N neurons on cognitive and motor deficits. Methods. Seventy-two adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, each weighing between 340 and 370 g, were given an anesthetic agent and subjected to lateral fluid percussion brain injury of moderate severity (2.2-2.5 arm in 46 rats) or to surgery without TBI (shamoperation, 26 rats). Twenty-four hours postinjury, 105 NT2N cells (24 injured animals) or 3 μl of vehicle (22 injured and 14 control animals) was stereotactically implanted into the periinjured or control cerebral cortex. Motor function was assessed at weekly intervals and all animals were killed at 2 or 4 weeks after their posttraumatic learning ability was assessed using a Morris water maze paradigm. Viable NT2N grafts were routinely observed to extend human neural cell adhesion molecule-(MOC-1)immunoreactive processes into the periinjured cortex at 2 and 4 weeks posttransplantation, although no significant improvement in motor or cognitive function was noted. Inflammation identified around the transplant at both time points was assessed by immunohistochemical identification of macrophages (ED-1) and microglia (isolectin B4). Conclusions. Long-term survival and integration of NT2N cells in the periinjured cortex of immunocompetent rats provides the researcher with an important cellular system that can be used to study maturation, regulation, and neurite outgrowth of transplanted neurons following TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Fluid-percussion injury
  • Inflammation
  • Neural transplantation
  • Neuronal development
  • Postmitotic human neuron cells
  • Rat
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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