Transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) has been proposed as a therapy for a range of neurological disorders. To realize the potential of this approach, it is essential to control survival, proliferation, migration, and differentiation of NSCs after transplantation. NSCs are regulated in vivo, at least in part, by their specialized microenvironment or "niche." In the adult central nervous system, neurogenic regions, such as the subventricular and subgranular zones, include NSCs residing in a vascular niche with endothelial cells. Although there is accumulating evidence that endothelial cells promote proliferation of NSCs in vitro, there is no description of their impact on transplanted NSCs. In this study, we grafted cortex-derived stroke-induced neural stem/progenitor cells, obtained from adult mice, onto poststroke cortex in the presence or absence of endothelial cells, and compared survival, proliferation, and neuronal differentiation of the neural precursors in vivo. Cotransplantation of endothelial cells and neural stem/progenitor cells increased survival and proliferation of ischemia-induced neural stem/progenitor cells and also accelerated neuronal differentiation compared with transplantation of neural precursors alone. These data indicate that reconstitution of elements in the vascular niche enhances transplantation of adult neural progenitor cells.
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