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Safe delivery of stem cells via the nose improves Parkinson’s symptoms

The international team of scientists found that intranasal application of mesenchymal stem cells to the brains of rats with Parkinson’s disease resulted in the improvement in animals’ motor function and higher levels of neurotransmitter dopamine. This procedure may be a noninvasive alternative to the traumatic surgical transplantation of stem cells to the brain which is commonly used for therapy of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s treatment.

The drops containing bone marrow stem cells were delivered intranasally to the rats with Parkinson’s disease. The highest percentage of these cells was observed in cortex, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord 4 hours after application. It proved that stem cells migrate rapidly along the nerves to the brain. These delivery routes are also known to be involved in the intranasal delivery of drugs to the brain.

The research demonstrated that stem cells survived in the rat brains for a period of at least 6 months. Their application increased the levels of the dopamine. Besides, the stem cells showed strong anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect to the brain. The behavioural tests revealed significant improvement of motor function of the Parkinsonian rats up to 68% of the normal value in 40-110 days after stem cell delivery.

Thus, intranasal administration of stem cells provides new effective approach to the Parkinson’s treatment. Moreover, it can be useful method for treating other pathologies such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis. This non-invasive treatment may be used repeatedly increasing the number of delivered cells to the brain which enhance the therapeutic effect.