The great migration of bone marrow-derived stem cells toward the ischemic brain: Therapeutic implications for stroke and other neurological disorders
Accumulating laboratory studies have implicated the mobilization of bone marrow (BM)-derived stem cells in brain plasticity and stroke therapy. This mobilization of bone cells to the brain is an essential concept in regenerative medicine. Over the past ten years, mounting data have shown the ability of bone marrow-derived stem cells to mobilize from BM to the peripheral blood (PB) and eventually enter the injured brain. This homing action is exemplified in BM stem cell mobilization following ischemic brain injury. Various BM-derived cells, such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and very small embryonic-like cells (VSELs) have been demonstrated to exert therapeutic benefits in stroke. Here, we discuss the current status of these BM-derived stem cells in stroke therapy, with emphasis on possible cellular and molecular mechanisms of action that mediate the cells’ beneficial effects in the ischemic brain. When possible, we also discuss the relevance of this therapeutic regimen in other central nervous system (CNS) disorders.