Stem cell therapy has great prospects for brain white matter disorders, including the genetically determined disorders called leukodystrophies. We focus on the devastating leukodystrophy vanishing white matter (VWM). Patients with VWM show severe disability and early death, and treatment options are lacking. Previous studies showed successful cell replacement therapy in rodent models for myelin defects. However, proof-of-concept studies of allogeneic cell replacement in models representative of human leukodystrophies are lacking. We tested cell replacement in a mouse model representative of VWM. We transplanted different murine glial progenitor cell populations and showed improved pathological hallmarks and motor function. Improved mice showed a higher percentage of transplanted cells that differentiated into GFAP + astrocytes, suggesting best therapeutic prospects for replacement of astroglial lineage cells. This is a proof-of-concept study for cell transplantation in VWM and suggests that glial cell replacement therapy is a promising therapeutic strategy for leukodystrophy patients.
Dooves, S., Leferink, P. S., Krabbenborg, S., Breeuwsma, N., Bots, S., Hillen, A. E. J., ... Heine, V. M. (2019). Cell Replacement Therapy Improves Pathological Hallmarks in a Mouse Model of Leukodystrophy Vanishing White Matter. Stem Cell Reports, 12(3), 441-450. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.01.018