NT3P75-2 gene-modified bone mesenchymal stem cells improve neurological function recovery in mouse TBI model

Ke Wu, Dongdong Huang, Can Zhu, Ella A. Kasanga, Ying Zhang, Enxing Yu, Hengli Zhang, Zhihui Ni, Sheng Ye, Chunli Zhang, Jiangnan Hu, Qichuan Zhuge, Jianjing Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The attainment of extensive neurological function recovery remains the key challenge for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Transplantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) has been shown to improve neurological function recovery after TBI. However, the survival of BMSCs after transplantation in early-stage TBI is limited, and much is unknown about the mechanisms mediating this neurological function recovery. Secretion of neurotrophic factors, including neurotrophin 3 (NT3), is one of the critical factors mediating BMSC neurological function recovery. Gene mutation of NT3 (NT3P75-2) has been shown to enhance the biological function of NT3 via the reduction of the activation of the P75 signal pathway. Thus, we investigated whether NT3P75-2 gene-modified BMSCs could enhance the survival of BMSCs and further improve neurological function recovery after TBI. Methods: The ability of NT3P75-2 induction to improve cell growth rate of NSC-34 and PC12 cells in vitro was first determined. BMSCs were then infected with three different lentiviruses (green fluorescent protein (GFP), GFP-NT3, or GFP-NT3P75-2), which stably express GFP, GFP-NT3, or GFP-NT3P75-2. At 24 h post-TBI induction in mice, GFP-labeled BMSCs were locally transplanted into the lesion site. Immunofluorescence and histopathology were performed at 1, 3, and/or 7 days after transplantation to evaluate the survival of BMSCs as well as the lesion volume. A modified neurological severity scoring system and the rotarod test were chosen to evaluate the functional recovery of the mice. Cell growth rate, glial activation, and signaling pathway analyses were performed to determine the potential mechanisms of NT3P75-2 in functional recovery after TBI. Results: Overall, NT3P75-2 improved cell growth rate of NSC-34 and PC12 cells in vitro. In addition, NT3P75-2 significantly improved the survival of transplanted BMSCs and neurological function recovery after TBI. Overexpression of NT3P75-2 led to a significant reduction in the activation of glial cells, brain water content, and brain lesion volume after TBI. This was associated with a reduced activation of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (P75NTR) and the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signal pathway due to the low affinity of NT3P75-2 for the receptor. Conclusions: Taken together, our results demonstrate that administration of NT3P75-2 gene-modified BMSCs dramatically improves neurological function recovery after TBI by increasing the survival of BMSCs and ameliorating the inflammatory environment, providing a new promising treatment strategy for TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number311
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 24 2019


  • Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells
  • NT3
  • Neurological function
  • P75 signal pathway
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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