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Induction of Neurotrophin Expression Via Human Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Implication for Cell Therapy in Neurodegenerative Diseases

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In animal models of neurological disorders for cerebral ischemia, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord lesions, transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been reported to improve functional outcome. Three mechanisms have been suggested for the effects of the MSCs: transdifferentiation of the grafted cells with replacement of degenerating neural cells, cell fusion, and neuroprotection of the dying cells. Here we demonstrate that a restricted number of cells with differentiated astroglial features can be obtained from human adult MSCs (hMSCs) both in vitro using different induction protocols and in vivo after transplantation into the developing mouse brain. We then examined the in vitro differentiation capacity of the hMSCs in coculture with slices of neonatal brain cortex. In this condition the hMSCs did not show any neuronal transdifferentiation but expressed neurotrophin low-affinity (NGFRp75) and high-affinity (trkC) receptors and released nerve growth factor (NGF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3). The same neurotrophin's expression was demonstrated 45 days after the intracerebral transplantation of hMSCs into nude mice with surviving astroglial cells. These data further confirm the limited capability of adult hMSC to differentiate into neurons whereas they differentiated in astroglial cells. Moreover, the secretion of neurotrophic factors combined with activation of the specific receptors of transplanted hMSCs demonstrated an alternative mechanism for neuroprotection of degenerating neurons. hMSCs are further defined in their transplantation potential for treating neurological disorders.
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Keywords: Astroglial cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Neurotrophin; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore, Department of Neurological Sciences, Stem Cell Laboratory, Dino Ferrari Center, University of Milan, Milan, Italy 2: Fondazione Matarelli, Ospedale Fatebenefratelli e Oftalmico, Laboratory of Matarelli Foundation for Blood Diseases, Milan, Italy 3: Department of Neurology and Laboratory of Neuroscience, Dino Ferrari Center, University of Milan-Medical School, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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