Safety and efficiency of Wharton’s Jelly-derived | Newswise


Newswise — Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by a disruption in the normal function of the brain due to an injury following a trauma, which can potentially cause severe physical, cognitive, and emotional impairment. Stem cell transplantation has evolved as a novel treatment modality in the management of TBI, as it has the potential to arrest the degeneration and promote regeneration of new cells in the brain. Wharton’s Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSCs) have recently shown beneficial effects in the functional recovery of neurological deficits.


To evaluate the safety and efficiency of MSC therapy in TBI.


We present 6 patients, 4 male and 2 female aged between 21 and 27 years who suffered a TBI. These 6 patients underwent 6 doses of intrathecal, intramuscular (i.m.) and intravenous transplantation of WJ-MSCs at a target dose of 1 × 106/kg for each application route. Spasticity was assessed using the Modified Ashworth scale (MAS), motor function according to the Medical Research Council Muscle Strength Scale, quality of life was assessed by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scale and Karnofsky Performance Status scale.


Our patients showed only early, transient complications, such as subfebrile fever, mild headache, and muscle pain due to i.m. injection, which resolved within 24 h. During the one year follow-up, no other safety issues or adverse events were reported. These 6 patients showed improvements in their cognitive abilities, muscle spasticity, muscle strength, performance scores and fine motor skills when compared before and after the intervention. MAS values, which we used to assess spasticity, were observed to statistically significantly decrease for both left and right sides (P < 0.001). The FIM scale includes both motor scores (P < 0.05) and cognitive scores (P < 0.001) and showed a significant increase in pretest posttest analyses. The difference observed in the participants’ Karnofsky Performance Scale values pre and post the intervention was statistically significant (P < 0.001).


This study showed that cell transplantation has a safe, effective and promising future in the management of TBI.

Key Words: Traumatic brain injury, Wharton Jelly, Stem cell therapy, Transplantation, Mesenchymal stem cell

Core Tip: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disease that particularly affects the young population and causes serious neurological deficits. Current treatment options do not provide the hoped-for improvement in patients. For this reason, many studies are being conducted on new treatment options for TBI. In our phase I study, we present data showing that mesenchymal stem cell applications can be a safe and effective treatment option in this patient group.

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