Authors: Giuseppe Esposito, Giovanni Sarnelli, Elena Capoccia, Carla Cirillo, Marcella Pesce, Jie Lu, Gaetano Cal?, Rosario Cuomo & Luca Steardo


  • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, “La Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy
  • Laboratory for Enteric NeuroScience (LENS), TARGID, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Institute of Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology-CNR., Naples, Italy

Publication: Scientific Reports

Date: March 2016

Full paper:


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by chronic deposition of -amyloid (A) in the brain, progressive neurodegeneration and consequent cognitive and behavioral deficits that typify the disease. Astrocytes are pivotal in this process because they are activated in the attempt to digest A which starts a neuroinflammatory response that further contributes to neurodegeneration. The intestine is a good source of astrocytes-like cells-referred to as enteric glial cells (EGCs). Here we show that the autologous transplantation of EGCs into the brain of A-injected rats arrested the development of the disease after their engraftment. Transplanted EGCs showed anti-amyloidogenic activity, embanked A?-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration and released neutrophic factors. The overall result was the amelioration of the pathological hallmarks and the cognitive and behavioral deficits typical of A-associated disease. Our data indicate that autologous EGCs transplantation may provide an efficient alternative for applications in cell-replacement therapies to treat neurodegeneration in AD.