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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012, Article ID 135187, 14 pages
Research Article

Effects of Intravenous Administration of Human Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells in 3-Acetylpyridine-Lesioned Rats

1Servicio de Neurobiología, Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS), 28034 Madrid, Spain
2Servicio de Bioquímica, Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS), 28034 Madrid, Spain
3Servicio de Neurología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, 28034 Madrid, Spain
4Centro de Transfusiones de la Comunidad de Madrid, Valdebernardo, 28030 Madrid, Spain
5Servicio de Neurobiología-Investigación, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Carretera de Colmenar Km. 9, 1, 28034 Madrid, Spain

Received 25 June 2012; Accepted 1 August 2012

Academic Editor: Oscar Gonzalez-Perez

Copyright © 2012 Lucía Calatrava-Ferreras et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cerebellar ataxias include a heterogeneous group of infrequent diseases characterized by lack of motor coordination caused by disturbances in the cerebellum and its associated circuits. Current therapies are based on the use of drugs that correct some of the molecular processes involved in their pathogenesis. Although these treatments yielded promising results, there is not yet an effective therapy for these diseases. Cell replacement strategies using human umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells (HuUCBMCs) have emerged as a promising approach for restoration of function in neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this work was to investigate the potential therapeutic activity of HuUCBMCs in the 3-acetylpyridine (3-AP) rat model of cerebellar ataxia. Intravenous administered HuUCBMCs reached the cerebellum and brain stem of 3-AP ataxic rats. Grafted cells reduced 3-AP-induced neuronal loss promoted the activation of microglia in the brain stem, and prevented the overexpression of GFAP elicited by 3-AP in the cerebellum. In addition, HuUCBMCs upregulated the expression of proteins that are critical for cell survival, such as phospho-Akt and Bcl-2, in the cerebellum and brain stem of 3-AP ataxic rats. As all these effects were accompanied by a temporal but significant improvement in motor coordination, HuUCBMCs grafts can be considered as an effective cell replacement therapy for cerebellar disorders.