Human stem/progenitor cells from bone marrow promote neurogenesis of endogenous neural stem cells in the hippocampus of mice

James R. Munoz, Brooke R. Stoutenger, Andrew P. Robinson, Jeffrey L. Spees, Darwin J. Prockop*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

387 Scopus citations


Stem/progenitor cells from bone marrow and other sources have been shown to repair injured tissues by differentiating into tissue-specific phenotypes, by secreting chemokines, and, in part, by cell fusion. Here we prepared the stem/progenitor cells from human bone marrow (MSCs) and implanted them into the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of immunodeficient mice. The implanted human MSCs markedly increased the proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells that expressed the stem cell marker Sox2. Labeling of the mice with BrdUrd demonstrated that, 7 days after implantation of the human MSCs, BrdUrd-labeled endogenous cells migrated throughout the dorsal hippocampus (positive for doublecortin) and expressed markers for astrocytes and for neural or oligodendrocyte progenitors. Subpopulations of BrdUrd-labeled cells exhibited short cytoplasmic processes immunoreactive for nerve growth factor and VEGF. By 30 days after implantation, the newly generated cells expressed markers for more mature neurons and astrocytes. Also, subpopulations of BrdUrd-labeled cells exhibited elaborate processes immunoreactive for ciliary neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-4/5, nerve growth factor, or VEGF. Therefore, implantation of human MSCs stimulated proliferation, migration, and differentiation of the endogenous neural stem cells that survived as differentiated neural cells. The results provide a paradigm to explain recent observations in which MSCs or related stem/progenitor cells were found to produce improvements in disease models even though a limited number of the cells engrafted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18171-18176
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 13 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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