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BMC Neurosci. 2011 Jul 14;12:67. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-12-67.

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

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



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.

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