Polarized Anti-Inflammatory Mesenchymal Stem Cells Increase Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Improve Cognitive Function in Aged Mice

Matanel Tfilin, Nikolai Gobshtis, David Fozailoff, Vadim E. Fraifeld, Gadi Turgeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Age-related decline in cognitive functions is associated with reduced hippocampal neurogenesis caused by changes in the systemic inflammatory milieu. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are known for their immunomodulatory properties. Accordingly, MSC are a leading candidate for cell therapy and can be applied to alleviate inflammatory diseases as well as aging frailty via systemic delivery. Akin to immune cells, MSC can also polarize into pro-inflammatory MSC (MSC1) and anti-inflammatory MSC (MSC2) following activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR3, respectively. In the present study, we apply pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) to polarize bone-marrow-derived MSC towards an MSC2 phenotype. Indeed, we found that polarized anti-inflammatory MSC were able to reduce the plasma levels of aging related chemokines in aged mice (18-months old) and increased hippocampal neurogenesis following systemic administration. Similarly, aged mice treated with polarized MSC displayed improved cognitive function in the Morris water maze and Y-maze assays compared with vehicle- and naïve-MSC-treated mice. Changes in neurogenesis and Y-maze performance were negatively and significantly correlated with sICAM, CCL2 and CCL12 serum levels. We conclude that polarized PACAP-treated MSC present anti-inflammatory properties that can mitigate age-related changes in the systemic inflammatory milieu and, as a result, ameliorate age related cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4490
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • MSC2
  • aging
  • cognitive decline
  • hippocampal neurogenesis
  • mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)
  • pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP)
  • systemic inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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