Extracellular matrix-regulated neural differentiation of human multipotent marrow progenitor cells enhances functional recovery after spinal cord injury

Win Ping Deng, Chi Chiang Yang, Liang Yo Yang, Chun Wei D Chen, Wei Hong Chen, Charn Bing Yang, Yu Hsin Chen, Wen-FuThomas Lai, Perry F. Renshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background context Recent advanced studies have demonstrated that cytokines and extracellular matrix (ECM) could trigger various types of neural differentiation. However, the efficacy of differentiation and in vivo transplantation has not yet thoroughly been investigated.

Purpose To highlight the current understanding of the effects of ECM on neural differentiation of human bone marrow-derived multipotent progenitor cells (MPCs), regarding state-of-art cure for the animal with acute spinal cord injury (SCI), and explore future treatments aimed at neural repair.

Study design A selective overview of the literature pertaining to the neural differentiation of the MSCs and experimental animals aimed at improved repair of SCI.

Methods Extracellular matrix proteins, tenascin-cytotactin (TN-C), tenascin-restrictin (TN-R), and chondroitin sulfate (CS), with the cytokines, nerve growth factor (NGF)/brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)/retinoic acid (RA) (NBR), were incorporated to induce transdifferentiation of human MPCs. Cells were treated with NBR for 7 days, and then TN-C, TN-R, or CS was added for 2 days. The medium was changed every 2 days. Twenty-four animals were randomly assigned to four groups with six animals in each group: one experimental and three controls. Animals received two (bilateral) injections of vehicle, MPCs, NBR-induced MPCs, or NBR/TN-C-induced MPCs into the lesion sites after SCI. Functional assessment was measured using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan locomotor rating score. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance followed by Student-Newman-Keuls (SNK) post hoc tests.

Results Results showed that MPCs with the transdifferentiation of human MPCs to neurons were associated with increased messenger-RNA (mRNA) expression of neuronal markers including nestin, microtubule-associated protein (MAP) 2, glial fibrillary acidic protein, βIII tubulin, and NGF. Greater amounts of neuronal morphology appeared in cultures incorporated with TN-C and TN-R than those with CS. The addition of TN-C enhanced mRNA expressions of MAP2, βIII tubulin, and NGF, whereas TN-R did not significantly change. Conversely, CS exposure decreased MAP2, βIII tubulin, and NGF expressions. The TN-C-treated MSCs significantly and functionally repaired SCI-induced rats at Day 42. Present results indicate that ECM components, such as tenascins and CS in addition to cytokines, may play functional roles in regulating neurogenesis by human MPCs.

Conclusions These findings suggest that the combined use of TN-C, NBR, and human MPCs offers a new feasible method for nerve repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2488-2499
Number of pages12
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Human multipotent progenitor cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Tenascin-cytotactin
  • Tenascin-restrictin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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