Neurochemical Research

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1022–1033 | Cite as

Neural Stem-Like Cells Derived from Human Amnion Tissue are Effective in Treating Traumatic Brain Injury in Rat

  • Zhong-Jie Yan
  • Peng Zhang
  • Yu-Qin Hu
  • Hong-Tian Zhang
  • Sun-Quan Hong
  • Hong-Long Zhou
  • Mao-Ying Zhang
  • Ru-Xiang Xu
Original Paper


Although human amnion derived mesenchymal stem cells (AMSC) are a promising source of stem cells, their therapeutic potential for traumatic brain injury (TBI) has not been widely investigated. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic potential of AMSC using a rat TBI model. AMSC were isolated from human amniotic membrane and characterized by flow cytometry. After induction, AMSC differentiated in vitro into neural stem-like cells (AM-NSC) that expressed higher levels of the neural stem cell markers, nestin, sox2 and musashi, in comparison to undifferentiated AMSC. Interestingly, the neurotrophic factors, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin 3 (NT-3), glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) were markedly upregulated after neural stem cell induction. Following transplantation in a rat TBI model, significant improvements in neurological function, brain tissue morphology, and higher levels of BDNF, NGF, NT-3, GDNF and CNTF, were observed in the AM-NSC group compared with the AMSC and Matrigel groups. However, few grafted cells survived with minimal differentiation into neural-like cells. Together, our results suggest that transplantation of AM-NSC promotes functional rehabilitation of rats with TBI, with enhanced expression of neurotrophic factors a likely mechanistic pathway.


Amnion Neural differentiation Neural stem cells Transplantation Traumatic brain injury 



We thank Health & Biotech (Guangdong, Guangzhou, China) for their kindly presenting human amnion derived mesenchymal stem cells. This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (U0632008, 81100916).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhong-Jie Yan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peng Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yu-Qin Hu
    • 3
  • Hong-Tian Zhang
    • 2
  • Sun-Quan Hong
    • 1
  • Hong-Long Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mao-Ying Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ru-Xiang Xu
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory on Brain Function Repair and Regeneration of Guangdong, Neurosurgery Institute, Zhujiang HospitalSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Affiliated Bayi Brain Hospital, The Military General Hospital of Beijing PLAThe Bayi Clinical Medical Institute of Southern Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsThe Affiliated Hexian Memorial Hospital of Southern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina

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