Fetal hippocampal CA3 cell grafts enriched with FGF-2 and BDNF exhibit robust long-term survival and integration and suppress aberrant mossy fiber sprouting in the injured middle-aged hippocampus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cell transplants that successfully replace the lost neurons and facilitate the reconstruction of the disrupted circuitry in the injured aging hippocampus are invaluable for treating acute head injury, stroke and status epilepticus in the elderly. This is because apt graft integration has the potential to prevent the progression of the acute injury into chronic epilepsy in the elderly. However, neural transplants into the injured middle-aged or aged hippocampus exhibit poor cell survival, suggesting that apt graft augmentation strategies are critical for robust integration of grafted cells into the injured aging hippocampus. We examined the efficacy of pre-treatment and grafting of donor fetal CA3 cells with a blend of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) for lasting survival and integration of grafted cells in the injured middle-aged (12 months old) hippocampus of F344 rats. Grafts were placed at 4 days after the kainic-acid-induced hippocampal injury and were analyzed at 6 months post-grafting. We demonstrate that 80% of grafted cells exhibit prolonged survival and 71% of grafted cells differentiate into CA3 pyramidal neurons. Grafts also receive a robust afferent input from the host mossy fibers and project efferent axons into the denervated zones of the dentate gyrus and the CA1 subfield. Consequently, the aberrant sprouting of the dentate mossy fibers, an epileptogenic change that typically ensues after the hippocampal injury, was suppressed. Thus, grafts of fetal CA3 cells enriched with FGF-2 and BDNF exhibit robust integration and dampen the abnormal mossy fiber sprouting in the injured middle-aged hippocampus. Because the aberrantly sprouted mossy fibers contribute to the generation of seizures, the results suggest that the grafting intervention using FGF-2 and BDNF is efficacious for suppressing epileptogenesis in the injured middle-aged hippocampus.

published proceedings

  • Neurobiol Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Rao, M. S., Hattiangady, B., & Shetty, A. K.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Rao, Muddanna S||Hattiangady, Bharathi||Shetty, Ashok K

publication date

  • January 2006