Prosaposin in the secretome of marrow stroma-derived neural progenitor cells protects neural cells from apoptotic death

J Neurochem. 2010 Mar;112(6):1527-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06565.x. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Functionally, adult stem cells not only participate in replication and differentiation to various cell lineages, but also may be involved in rescuing cells from apoptosis. Identifying functional factors secreted by stem cells, as well as their target cells, may advance our understanding of stem cells' multifaceted physiologic functions. Here, we report that mouse bone marrow stromal cell-derived neuroprogenitor cells (mMSC-NPC) provide a protective function by secreting a key factor, prosaposin (PSAP), capable of rescuing mature neurons from apoptotic death. This factor is identified as the lead protein in the secretome of mMSC-NPC cultures by tandem mass spectroscopic profiling, and further validated by western blotting and immunocytochemistry. The secretome of MSC-NPC reduces toxin-induced cell death in cultures of rat pheochromocytoma neuronal cells, human ReNcell CX neurons, and rat cortical primary neurons; removal of PSAP by immunodepletion annuls this protective effect. This neuronal protection against toxin treatment was validated further by the recombinant PSAP peptide. Interestingly, the secretome of neuronal culture does not possess such a self-protective action. We suggest that upon injury, a subgroup of MSCs differentiates into neural/neuronal progenitor cells, and remains in this intermediate stem cell-like stage, defending injured neighboring mature neurons from apoptosis by secreting PSAP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Annexin A5 / metabolism
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Propidium
  • Rats
  • Saposins / metabolism*
  • Saposins / pharmacology*
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology


  • Annexin A5
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • PSAP protein, human
  • Saposins
  • Propidium
  • Tretinoin