Autologous mesenchymal stem cell therapy delays the progression of neurological deficits in patients with multiple system atrophy.

We evaluated the feasibility and safety of therapy with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) through consecutively intra-arterial and three repeated intravenous injections and compared the long-term prognosis between MSC-treated (n=11) and control multiple system atrophy (MSA) patients (n=18).

The MSC-treated patients showed significantly greater improvement on the unified MSA rating scale (UMSARS) than the control patients at all visits throughout the 12-month study period.

Orthostasis in UMSARS I items and cerebellar dysfunction-related items of UMSARS II items were significantly different in favor of MSC treatment compared to controls. Serial positron emission tomography scan in the MSC-treated group showed that increased fluorodeoxyglucose uptake from baseline was noted in cerebellum and frontal white matters. No serious adverse effects related to MSC therapy occurred.

This study demonstrated that MSC therapy in patients with MSA was safe and delayed the progression of neurological deficits with achievement of functional improvement in the follow-up period.