Adult bone marrow neural crest stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells are not able to replace lost neurons in acute MPTP-lesioned mice

PLoS One. 2013 May 31;8(5):e64723. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064723. Print 2013.


Adult bone marrow stroma contains multipotent stem cells (BMSC) that are a mixed population of mesenchymal and neural-crest derived stem cells. Both cells are endowed with in vitro multi-lineage differentiation abilities, then constituting an attractive and easy-available source of material for cell therapy in neurological disorders. Whereas the in vivo integration and differentiation of BMSC in neurons into the central nervous system is currently matter of debate, we report here that once injected into the striatum of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice, pure populations of either bone marrow neural crest stem cells (NCSC) or mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) survived only transiently into the lesioned brain. Moreover, they do not migrate through the brain tissue, neither modify their initial phenotype, while no recovery of the dopaminergic system integrity was observed. Consequently, we tend to conclude that MSC/NCSC are not able to replace lost neurons in acute MPTP-lesioned dopaminergic system through a suitable integration and/or differentiation process. Altogether with recent data, it appears that neuroprotective, neurotrophic and anti-inflammatory features characterizing BMSC are of greater interest as regards CNS lesions management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Brain Injuries / chemically induced
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Cell Death
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Treatment Failure


  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) of Belgium, by the Belgian League against Multiple Sclerosis associated with the Leon Frédericq Foundation and by the Fonds Spéciaux à la Recherche of the University of Liège. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.