Transfer of healthy mitochondria from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to ischemic neurons represents a potent stroke therapeutic. MSCs were grown under ambient conditions (nMSCs) or a metabolic switching paradigm by alternating galactose and glucose in medium (sMSCs) and then assayed for oxygen consumption rates using the Seahorse technology. Subsequently, primary neurons were subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) and then co-cultured with either nMSCs or sMSCs. Compared to nMSCs, sMSCs displayed higher basal energy production, larger spare respiratory capacity, greater ATP production, and decreased proton leak. Co-culture of OGD-exposed neurons with sMSCs conferred greater cell viability, enhanced cell metabolism, reduced mitochondrial reactive oxidative species mRNA, and elevated mitochondria ATP mRNA than those cultured with nMSCs. Metabolic switching produces “super” mitochondria that may underlie the therapeutic benefit of using sMSCs to treat ischemic cells.
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