Cellular approaches to central nervous system remyelination stimulation: thyroid hormone to promote myelin repair via endogenous stem and precursor cells

J Mol Endocrinol. 2010 Jan;44(1):13-23. doi: 10.1677/JME-09-0067. Epub 2009 Jul 3.


Brain and spinal cord repair is a very difficult task in view of the extremely limited repair capability of the mature central nervous system (CNS). Thus, cellular therapies are regarded as a new frontier for both acute and chronic neurological diseases characterized by neuron or oligodendroglia degeneration. Although cell replacement has been considered as the primary goal of such approaches, in recent years greater attention has been devoted to the possibility that new undifferentiated cells in damaged nervous tissue might also act in autocrine-paracrine fashion, regulating the micro-environment through the release of growth factor and cytokines, also regulating immune response and local inflammation. In this review, repair of demyelinating disease using endogenous cells will be discussed in view of the critical role played by thyroid hormones (THs) during developmental myelination, focusing on the following points: 1) endogenous stem and precursor cells during demyelinating diseases; 2) TH homeostasis in the CNS; 3) cellular and molecular mechanism regulated by TH during developmental myelination and 4) a working hypothesis to develop a rationale for the use of THs to improve remyelination through endogenous stem and precursor cells in the course of demyelinating diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology
  • Demyelinating Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration* / drug effects
  • Nerve Regeneration* / physiology
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / genetics
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Stem Cells* / drug effects
  • Stem Cells* / physiology
  • Thyroid Hormones* / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones* / pharmacology


  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Thyroid Hormones