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J Exerc Rehabil. 2018 Jun 30;14(3):335-340. doi: 10.12965/jer.1836264.132. eCollection 2018 Jun.

Treadmill exercise with bone marrow stromal cells transplantation facilitates neuroprotective effect through BDNF-ERK1/2 pathway in spinal cord injury rats.

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Sports Science Research Institution, Korea National Sport University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Physical Education, College of Health, Welfare, and Education, Tong Myong University, Busan, Korea.
Department of Kinesiology, College of Natural Science, Jeju National University, Jeju, Korea.


Transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) has been known as one of the effective therapeutic methods for functional recovery of spinal cord injury (SCI). Treadmill exercise also facilitates the functional recovery of SCI. Previously, we reported that combination of BMSCs transplantation with treadmill exercise potentiated the locomotor function in SCI rats. In the present study, we investigated whether recovery effect of BMSCs transplantation or treadmill exercise appears through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway. The spinal cord contusion injury was performed at the T9-T10 level using the impactor. Cultured BMSCs were transplanted directly into the lesion 1 week after SCI. Treadmill exercise was performed 6 days per a week for 6 weeks. Western blot for Bax, Bcl-2, BDNF, tyrosine kinase B (TrkB), and phosphorylated ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2), phosphorylated JNK was performed. In the present results, combination of BMSCs transplantation with tread-mill exercise potently decreased Bax expression, potently increased Bcl-2 expression, and potently enhanced BDNF and TrkB expressions in the injured spinal cord. Combination of BMSCs transplantation with treadmill exercise further facilitated p-ERK1/2 and p-c-Jun expression levels. The present findings demonstrated the synergistic effect of treadmill exercise on neuroregenerative effect of BMSCs transplantation appeared through the activation of BDNF-ERK1/2 pathway in SCI.


Bone marrow stromal cells; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Extracellular signal–regulated kinases 1/2; Spinal cord injury; Treadmill exercise

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