Bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) are important for angiogenesis after stroke. We investigated the effects of BMMNCs on cognitive function, angiogenesis, and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signaling pathway in a rat model of vascular dementia. We transplanted BMMNCs into rats that had undergone permanent bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries (2VO) and observed their migration in vivo. On day 28, we assessed cognitive function with the Morris Water Maze test and examined vascular density and white matter damage within the corpus striatum by staining with fluorescein lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) lectin or Luxol fast blue. We evaluated expression of VEGF, rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma 1 (Raf1), and extracellular-signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) in the ischemic hemisphere by Western blot analysis on day 7 after cell transplantation. Contribution of the VEGF-VEGFR2 signaling pathway was confirmed by using VEGFR2 inhibitor SU5416. BMMNCs penetrated the blood-brain barrier and reached the ischemic cortex and white matter or incorporated into vascular walls of 2VO rats. BMMNC-treated 2VO rats had better learning and memory, higher vascular density, and less white matter damage than did vehicle-treated rats. The beneficial effects of BMMNCs were abolished by pretreatment of rats with SU5416. Protein expression of VEGF and phosphorylated Raf1 and ERK1/2 was also significantly increased by BMMNC treatment, but this upregulation was reversed by SU5416. BMMNCs can enhance angiogenesis, reduce white matter damage, and promote cognitive recovery in 2VO rats. The angiogenic effect may result from upregulation of the VEGF-VEGFR2 signaling pathway.
- Bone marrow mononuclear cells
- Cell transplantation
- VEGF-VEGFR2 signaling pathway
- Vascular dementia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience