Counteracting neuroinflammation in experimental Parkinson's disease favors recovery of function: Effects of Er-NPCs administration 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1109 Neurosciences

Stephana Carelli, Toniella Giallongo, Zuzana Gombalova, Federica Rey, Maria Carlotta F. Gorio, Massimiliano Mazza, Anna Maria Di Giulio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, presenting with midbrain dopaminergic neurons degeneration. A number of studies suggest that microglial activation may have a role in PD. It has emerged that inflammation-derived oxidative stress and cytokine-dependent toxicity may contribute to nigrostriatal pathway degeneration and exacerbate the progression of the disease in patients with idiopathic PD. Cell therapies have long been considered a feasible regenerative approach to compensate for the loss of specific cell populations such as the one that occurs in PD. We recently demonstrated that erythropoietin-releasing neural precursors cells (Er-NPCs) administered to MPTP-intoxicated animals survive after transplantation in the recipient's damaged brain, differentiate, and rescue degenerating striatal dopaminergic neurons. Here, we aimed to investigate the potential anti-inflammatory actions of Er-NPCs infused in an MPTP experimental model of PD. Methods: The degeneration of dopaminergic neurons was caused by MPTP administration in C57BL/6 male mice. 2.5 × 105 GFP-labeled Er-NPCs were administered by stereotaxic injection unilaterally in the left striatum. Functional recovery was assessed by two independent behavioral tests. Neuroinflammation was investigated measuring the mRNAs levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and immunohistochemistry studies were performed to evaluate markers of inflammation and the potential rescue of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) projections in the striatum of recipient mice. Results: Er-NPC administration promoted a rapid anti-inflammatory effect that was already evident 24 h after transplant with a decrease of pro-inflammatory and increase of anti-inflammatory cytokines mRNA expression levels. This effect was maintained until the end of the observational period, 2 weeks post-transplant. Here, we show that Er-NPCs transplant reduces macrophage infiltration, directly counteracting the M1-like pro-inflammatory response of murine-activated microglia, which corresponds to the decrease of CD68 and CD86 markers, and induces M2-like pro-regeneration traits, as indicated by the increase of CD206 and IL-10 expression. Moreover, we also show that this activity is mediated by Er-NPCs-derived erythropoietin (EPO) since the co-injection of cells with anti-EPO antibodies neutralizes the anti-inflammatory effect of the Er-NPCs treatment. Conclusion: This study shows the anti-inflammatory actions exerted by Er-NPCs, and we suggest that these cells may represent good candidates for cellular therapy to counteract neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number333
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2018


  • Adult stem cells
  • Erythropoietin
  • Neural stem cells transplantation
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Regenerative medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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