Background: Ischaemic stroke has become the main cause of death and severe neurological disorders, for which effective restorative treatments are currently limited. While stem cell transplantation offers therapeutic potential through neural regeneration, this approach is associated with challenges of limited applicable sources. Hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) are multipotential cells which can differentiate into ectodermal and mesodermal lineages and proliferate for long periods. The therapeutic potentials of HFSCs have not been investigated in ischaemic stroke models and, therefore, in this study, we aimed to determine whether they can survive and migrate to ischaemic areas after stroke attack.
Methods : A rat model of middle cerebral artery ischaemia/reperfusion was established and intravenously administrated HFSCs. The potential of HFSCs to migrate and differentiate into neuron-like cells, as well as their ability to reduce the infarct size, was evaluated. Rat brain tissue samples were collected 2 weeks after cell transplantation and analysed via TTC staining, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry methods. The data were statistically analysed and are presented as the means ± standard deviations (SDs).
Results : Intravenously administrated rat HFSCs migrated to the penumbra where they expressed neuron-specific markers, reduced the infarct volume, and promoted neurological recovery.
Conclusion : HFSC transplantation has therapeutic potential for ischaemic stroke, which implies that HFSC treatment might be useful for stroke patients in the future and is, therefore, worthy of further investigation toward possible clinical development.