Integrated analysis of genetic, behavioral, and biochemical data implicates neural stem cell-induced changes in immunity, neurotransmission and mitochondrial function in Dementia with Lewy Body mice.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-017-0421-0
We previously demonstrated that transplantation of murine neural stem cells (NSCs) can improve motor and cognitive function in a transgenic model of Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). These benefits occurred without changes in human α-synuclein pathology and were mediated in part by stem cell-induced elevation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, instrastriatal NSC transplantation likely alters the brain microenvironment via multiple mechanisms that may synergize to promote cognitive and motor recovery. The underlying neurobiology that mediates such restoration no doubt involves numerous genes acting in concert to modulate signaling within and between host brain cells and transplanted NSCs. In order to identify functionally connected gene networks and additional mechanisms that may contribute to stem cell-induced benefits, we performed weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) on striatal tissue isolated from NSC- and vehicle-injected wild-type and DLB mice. Combining continuous behavioral and biochemical data with genome wide expression via network analysis proved to be a powerful approach; revealing significant alterations in immune response, neurotransmission, and mitochondria function. Taken together, these data shed further light on the gene network and biological processes that underlie the therapeutic effects of NSC transplantation on α-synuclein induced cognitive and motor impairments, thereby highlighting additional therapeutic targets for synucleinopathies.