Neural stem cell therapy of foetal onset hydrocephalus using the HTx rat as experimental model

Roberto Henzi, Karin Vío, Clara Jara, Conrad E. Johanson, James P. McAllister, Esteban M. Rodríguez, Montserrat Guerra

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8 Scopus citations


Foetal onset hydrocephalus is a disease starting early in embryonic life; in many cases it results from a cell junction pathology of neural stem (NSC) and neural progenitor (NPC) cells forming the ventricular zone (VZ) and sub-ventricular zone (SVZ) of the developing brain. This pathology results in disassembling of VZ and loss of NSC/NPC, a phenomenon known as VZ disruption. At the cerebral aqueduct, VZ disruption triggers hydrocephalus while in the telencephalon, it results in abnormal neurogenesis. This may explain why derivative surgery does not cure hydrocephalus. NSC grafting appears as a therapeutic opportunity. The present investigation was designed to find out whether this is a likely possibility. HTx rats develop hereditary hydrocephalus; 30–40% of newborns are hydrocephalic (hyHTx) while their littermates are not (nHTx). NSC/NPC from the VZ/SVZ of nHTx rats were cultured into neurospheres that were then grafted into a lateral ventricle of 1-, 2- or 7-day-old hyHTx. Once in the cerebrospinal fluid, neurospheres disassembled and the freed NSC homed at the areas of VZ disruption. A population of homed cells generated new multiciliated ependyma at the sites where the ependyma was missing due to the inherited pathology. Another population of NSC homed at the disrupted VZ differentiated into βIII-tubulin+ spherical cells likely corresponding to neuroblasts that progressed into the parenchyma. The final fate of these cells could not be established due to the protocol used to label the grafted cells. The functional outcomes of NSC grafting in hydrocephalus remain open. The present study establishes an experimental paradigm of NSC/NPC therapy of foetal onset hydrocephalus, at the etiologic level that needs to be further explored with more analytical methodologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Congenital hydrocephalus
  • Ependymogenesis
  • Homing
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurospheres
  • Repair
  • Transplantation
  • Ventricular zone disruption


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