Galanin Is Highly Expressed in Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Facilitates Migration of Cells Both in Vitro and in Vivo

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Dec 18;390(3):867-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.064. Epub 2009 Oct 17.


Galanin peptide has recently been found to be highly abundant in early embryonic mouse mesenchyme, while galanin and its receptors are expressed in embryonic mouse stem cells. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) represent the primary source for adult stem cell therapy. In this study we examined the abundance of galanin and its receptors in BMMSCs and evaluated its possible function. Galanin mRNA and protein were highly expressed in BMMSCs cultures up to four passages, while among the three galanin receptor subtypes (GalR1, GalR2, and GalR3) only GalR2 and to a lesser extent GalR3 were expressed. Using chemotaxis and wound assays we found that galanin protein increased the migration of BMMSCs. Furthermore, increased serum galanin levels in a galanin transgenic model enhanced the mobilization (homing) of injected BMMSCs in vivo. These data suggest a role for galanin in BMMSC migration, probably through activation of the GalR2 receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Galanin / biosynthesis*
  • Galanin / genetics
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptor, Galanin, Type 2 / metabolism*


  • Receptor, Galanin, Type 2
  • Galanin