Neural stem cell-conditioned medium suppresses inflammation and promotes spinal cord injury recovery

Zhijian Cheng, Dale B. Bosco, Li Sun, Xiaoming Chen, Yunsheng Xu, Wenjiao Tai, Ruth Didier, Jinhua Li, Jianqing Fan, Xijing He, Yi Ren

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes functional impairment as a result of the initial injury followed by secondary injury mechanism. SCI provokes an inflammatory response that causes secondary tissue damage and neurodegeneration. While the use of neural stem cell (NSC) engraftment to mitigate secondary injury has been of interest to many researchers, it still faces several limitations. As such, we investigated if NSC-conditioned medium (NSC-M) possesses therapeutic potential for the treatment of SCI. It has been proposed that many of the beneficial effects attributed to stem cell therapies are due to secreted factors. Utilizing primary cell culture and murine models of SCI, we determined that systemic treatment with NSC-M was able to significantly improve motor function and lesion healing. In addition, NSC-M demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory potential in vitro and in vivo, reducing inflammatory cytokine expression in both activated macrophages and injured spinal cord tissues. NSC-M was also able to reduce the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) within the spleen of injured animals, indicating an ability to reduce systemic inflammation. Thus, we believe that NSC-M offers a possible alternative to direct stem cell engraftment for the treatment of SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-482
Number of pages14
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Neural stem cell-conditioned medium (NSC-M)
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

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