Neurological Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 449–457 | Cite as

Bone marrow stromal cells promote neurite outgrowth of spinal motor neurons by means of neurotrophic factors in vitro

  • Weiwei Lin
  • Ming Li
  • Yi Li
  • Xiaoli Sun
  • Xiang Li
  • Fan Yang
  • Yuejiao Huang
  • Xiaodong Wang
Original Paper


Transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) into spinal cord injury models has shown significant neural function recovery; however, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully understood. In the present study we examined the effect of BMSCs on neurite outgrowth of spinal motor neuron using an in vitro co-culture system. The ventral horn of the spinal grey matter was harvested from neonatal Sprague–Dawley rats, cultured with BMSCs, and immunostained for neurofilament-200 (NF-200). Neurite outgrowth of spinal motor neurons was measured using Image J software. ELISA was used to quantify neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) in culture media, and antibodies or exogenous neurotrophic factors were used to block or mimic the effect of BMSCs on neurite outgrowth, respectively. The results showed that neurite outgrowth significantly increased in spinal motor neurons after co-cultured with BMSCs, while the secretion level of BDNF, GDNF and NGF was dramatically elevated in co-culture. However, the neurite outgrowth-promoting effect of BMSCs was found to significantly reduced using antibodies to BDNF, GDNF and NGF. In addition, a fraction of BMSCs was found to exhibit NF-200 immunoreactivity. These results indicated that BMSCs could promote neurite outgrowth of motor neurons by means of neurotrophic factors. The findings of the present study provided new cues for the treatment of spinal cord injury.


Bone marrow stromal cells Neurite outgrowth Motor neurons Neurotrophic factors Spinal cord injury 



This research was supported by grant from Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81271721) Universities Natural Science Research Project of Jiangsu Province (No. 08KJD310015 & 11KJB310007), and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions. We thank assistant professor Wen Hu and Yixin Xu for assistance in manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiwei Lin
    • 1
  • Ming Li
    • 1
  • Yi Li
    • 1
  • Xiaoli Sun
    • 2
  • Xiang Li
    • 1
  • Fan Yang
    • 1
  • Yuejiao Huang
    • 1
  • Xiaodong Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Histology and Embryology, Medical CollegeNantong UniversityNantongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Gynaecology and ObstetricsAffiliated Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongPeople’s Republic of China

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