Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are emerging as an attractive approach for restorative medicine in central nervous system (CNS) diseases and injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), due to their relatively easy derivation and therapeutic effect following transplantation. However, the long-term survival of the grafted cells and therapeutic efficacy need improvement. Here, we review the recent application of MSCs in TBI treatment in preclinical models. We discuss the genetic modification approaches designed to enhance the therapeutic potency of MSCs for TBI treatment by improving their survival after transplantation, enhancing their homing abilities and overexpressing neuroprotective and neuroregenerative factors. We highlight the latest preclinical studies that have used genetically modified MSCs for TBI treatment. The recent developments in MSCs’ biology and potential TBI therapeutic targets may sufficiently improve the genetic modification strategies for MSCs, potentially bringing effective MSC-based therapies for TBI treatment in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4051
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Cell therapy
  • Gene therapy
  • Genetic modification
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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