Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 368, Issue 1–2, pp 127–135 | Cite as

Current state of the development of mesenchymal stem cells into clinically applicable Schwann cell transplants

  • Yu Pan
  • Sa Cai


Schwann cells are critically important in recovery from injuries to the peripheral nervous system, and their absence from the central nervous system (CNS) may be a critical limiting factor in the CNS regeneration capacity. Various types of stem cells have been investigated for their potential to be induced to develop a Schwann cell phenotype, with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) being the most promising among them. The methods for inducing MSCs differentiation into Schwann cell-like cells are presented in detail in this review. The evidence related to successful differentiation of MSCs to Schwann cell-like cells is particularly discussed herein, which includes the changes in morphology, phenotype, function, and proteome. The possible explanations for the differentiation of MSCs to Schwann cell-like cells are also presented. Finally, we suggest future research aims which will need to be fulfilled to elucidate the biology of Schwann cell differentiation and MSC transdifferentiation, to enable clinical application of therapeutic differentiated MSC transplantation into nerve injury sites.


Mesenchymal stem cells Schwann cells Differentiation Transdifferentiation Mechanisms Clinical application 



This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81000011, 81000835), the Distinguished Young Talents in Higher Education of Guangdong (No. LYM091182009), Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (No. 10451018201004913), and Shenzhen Technological R&D Foundation (No. JC201005280429A).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center of Medical Sciences, Guangdong General HospitalGuangdong Academy of Medical SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of MedicineThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  3. 3.Department of Histology and Embryology, School of MedicineShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina

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