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Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript promotes the differentiation of mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells into neural cells

Zhuo Liu1245, Danqing Huang3, Meijuan Zhang24, Zhibin Chen245, Jiali Jin24, Siyuan Huang24, Zhuo Zhang245, Zhongyuan Wang245, Lei Chen6, Ling Chen6 and Yun Xu1245*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210008, PR. China

2 Department of Neurology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, 321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 21008, PR. China

3 Department of Neurology, Jiangsu Province Geriatric Hospital, 65 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210024, PR. China

4 The State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210093, PR. China

5 Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Molecular Medicine, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210093, PR China

6 Department of Physiology, Nanjing Medical University, 140 Hanzhong Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210029, PR China

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:67  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-67

Published: 14 July 2011



Neural tissue has limited potential to self-renew after neurological damage. Cell therapy using BM-MSCs (bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells) seems like a promising approach for the treatment of neurological diseases. However, the neural differentiation of stem cells influenced by massive factors and interactions is not well studied at present.


In this work, we isolated and identified MSCs from mouse bone marrow. Co-cultured with CART (0.4 nM) for six days, BM-MSCs were differentiated into neuron-like cells by the observation of optical microscopy. Immunofluorescence demonstrated that the differentiated BM-MSCs expressed neural specific markers including MAP-2, Nestin, NeuN and GFAP. In addition, NeuN positive cells could co-localize with TH or ChAT by double-labled immunofluorescence and Nissl bodies were found in several differentiated cells by Nissl stain. Furthermore, BDNF and NGF were increased by CART using RT-PCR.


This study demonstrated that CART could promote the differentiation of BM-MSCs into neural cells through increasing neurofactors, including BNDF and NGF. Combined application of CART and BM-MSCs may be a promising cell-based therapy for neurological diseases.