Perinatal hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain injury remains highly associated with neurodevelopmental disability after preterm birth. There is increasing evidence that disability is linked with impaired white matter maturation, but there is no specific treatment. In this study, we evaluated whether, in preterm fetal sheep, delayed intranasal infusion of human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) given 1, 3 and 10 days after severe HI, induced by umbilical cord occlusion for 25 min, can restore white matter maturation or reduce delayed cell loss. After 21 days recovery, asphyxia was associated with reduced electroencephalographic (EEG) maturation, brain weight and cortical area, impaired maturation of oligodendrocytes (OLs), no significant loss of total OLs but a marked reduction in immature/mature OLs and reduced myelination. Intranasal infusion of hAECs was associated with improved brain weight and restoration of immature/mature OLs and fractional area of myelin basic protein, with reduced microglia and astrogliosis. Cortical EEG frequency distribution was partially improved, with reduced loss of cortical area, and attenuated cleaved-caspase-3 expression and microgliosis. Neuronal survival in deep grey matter nuclei was improved, with reduced microglia, astrogliosis and cleaved-caspase-3-positive apoptosis. These findings suggest that delayed intranasal hAEC administration has potential to alleviate chronic dysmaturation after perinatal HI.
- stem cells