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Physical Exercise Boosts Maturation of Transplanted Neurons and Recovery in Stroke Model


Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The key to treat stroke is to functionally replace the dead neurons in the brain. Therefore, transplantation of neural progenitor cells(NPCs) is considered as a promising approach to cure stroke. However, the long-term functional outcome on NPC transplantation is quite limited based on various animal models. The biggest challenge is that the transplanted NPCs failed to develop into mature and functional neurons to replace the dead ones in neural circuit.   

Recently, a research team led by Guangjin PAN and Xiquan HU from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xiquan Hu from the Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University reported that physical exercise (PE) greatly enhanced maturation of transplanted neurons and functional recovery in stroke model.  

The study was published in Stem Cell Reports on Jan. 13.   

Among 4 groups of rat with stroke, the group treated with NPC transplantation followed by PE(NPCs/PE) showed the most significant recovery compared with other 3 groups either untreated or treated by just PE or NPC transplantation. The maturation and integration of NPCs derived neurons were greatly enhanced in NPCs/PE treated animals.
Physical exercise is a noninvasive, safe and low risk approach and now has been widely used in postoperative rehabilitation and home health care for a variety of brain disorders, including trauma, stoke, and neurodegenerative diseases. The current work provides additional mechanisms that PE might help neuron maturation during rehabilitation of these neural disorders. PE plus neural cell transplantation might provide a better choice in brain disorder recovery. 
Prof. PAN’s team has been focusing on the generation of human neural stem cells for years. They reported a relatively straightforward way to turn the fallen-off kidney epithelial cells in human urine into neural stem cells in Nature Methods in 2013. In current study, by working with Dr. HU’s team with expertise in stroke rehabilitation, they provided a practical approach to promote the functional output of these in vitro generated NPCs in stroke model, thus an important further step towards clinical application to treat brain disorders. 

physical excise promotes the  matuation of grated neurons and reconstruction of neural  circuit(Image by GIBH)