Impact of Gestational Age on Neuroprotective Function of Placenta-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells

Sarah C. Stokes, Sandra K. Kabagambe, Chelsey J. Lee, Aijun Wang, Diana L. Farmer, Priyadarsini Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The Management of Myelomeningocele Study demonstrated that in utero repair of myelomeningocele improved motor outcomes compared with postnatal repair. However, even after in utero repair, many children were still unable to walk. We have previously demonstrated that augmentation of in utero repair with early-gestation placental mesenchymal stromal cells (PMSCs) improves motor outcomes in lambs compared with standard in utero repair. The neuroprotective potential of PMSCs of all gestational ages has not been evaluated previously. Methods: PMSCs were isolated from discarded first trimester (n = 3), second trimester (n = 3), and term (n = 3) placentas by explant culture. Cytokine array analysis was performed. Secretion of two neurotrophic factors, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and hepatocyte growth factor, was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. An in vitro neuroprotective assay demonstrated to be associated with in vivo function was performed. Results: All cell lines secreted immunomodulatory and neuroprotective cytokines and secreted the neurotrophic factors evaluated. Increased neuroprotective capabilities relative to no PMSCs were demonstrated in two of the three first trimester cell lines (5.61, 4.96-6.85, P < 0.0001 and 2.67, 1.67-4.12, P = 0.0046), two of the three second trimester cell lines (2.82, 2.45-3.43, P = 0.0004 and 3.25, 2.62-3.93, P < 0.0001), and two of the three term cell lines (2.72, 2.32-2.92, P = 0.0033 and 2.57, 1.41-4.42, P = 0.0055). Conclusions: We demonstrated variation in neuroprotective function between cell lines and found that some cell lines from each trimester had neuroprotective properties. This potentially expands the donor pool of PMSCs for clinical use. Further in-depth studies are needed to understand potential subtle differences in cell function at different gestational ages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Fetal surgery
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Neuroprotection
  • Placental mesenchymal stromal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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