Activated Mesenchymal Stem Cells Induce Recovery Following Stroke Via Regulation of Inflammation and Oligodendrogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Matthew K. Tobin
  • Terilyn K.L. Stephen
  • Kyra L. Lopez
  • Melissa R. Pergande
  • Amelia M. Bartholomew
  • Stephanie M. Cologna
  • Orly Lazarov

External Institution(s)

  • University of Illinois at Chicago


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e013583
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatusPublished - Apr 7 2020


Background Brain repair mechanisms fail to promote recovery after stroke, and approaches to induce brain regeneration are scarce. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are thought to be a promising therapeutic option. However, their efficacy is not fully elucidated, and the mechanism underlying their effect is not known. Methods and Results The middle cerebral artery occlusion model was utilized to determine the efficacy of interferon-γ-activated mesenchymal stem cells (aMSCγ) as an acute therapy for stroke. Here we show that treatment with aMSCγ is a more potent therapy for stroke than naive MSC. aMSCγ treatment results in significant functional recovery assessed by the modified neurological severity score and open-field analysis compared with vehicle-treated animals. aMSCγ-treated animals showed significant reductions in infarct size and inhibition of microglial activation. The aMSCγ treatment suppressed the hypoxia-induced microglial proinflammatory phenotype more effectively than treatment with naive MSC. Importantly, treatment with aMSCγ induced recruitment and differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells to myelin-producing oligodendrocytes in vivo. To elucidate the mechanism underlying high efficacy of aMSCγ therapy, we examined the secretome of aMSCγ and compared it to that of naive MSC. Intriguingly, we found that aMSCγ but not nMSC upregulated neuron-glia antigen 2, an important extracellular signal and a hallmark protein of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Conclusions These results suggest that activation of MSC with interferon-γ induces a potent proregenerative, promyelinating, and anti-inflammatory phenotype of these cells, which increases the potency of aMSCγ as an effective therapy for ischemic stroke.

    Research areas

  • inflammation, ischemia, mesenchymal stem cells, oligodendrogenesis, stroke, therapy

Citation formats


Tobin, M. K., Stephen, T. K. L., Lopez, K. L., Pergande, M. R., Bartholomew, A. M., Cologna, S. M., & Lazarov, O. (2020). Activated Mesenchymal Stem Cells Induce Recovery Following Stroke Via Regulation of Inflammation and Oligodendrogenesis. Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(7), e013583.


Tobin, MK, Stephen, TKL, Lopez, KL, Pergande, MR, Bartholomew, AM, Cologna, SM & Lazarov, O 2020, 'Activated Mesenchymal Stem Cells Induce Recovery Following Stroke Via Regulation of Inflammation and Oligodendrogenesis', Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 9, no. 7, pp. e013583.