Lithium enhanced cell proliferation and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to neural cells in rat spinal cord
Dong BT1, Tu GJ1, Han YX1, Chen Y1
Lithium has been shown to inhibit apoptosis of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and promote differentiation of NPCs. However, there was rare data to discuss the effects of lithium on neural differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Here, we investigated the potential promotion of lithium to MSC proliferation and neural differentiation in vitro and after transplanted into the ventral horn of rat spinal cord in vivo. We found that lithium possesses the ability to promote proliferation of GFP-MSCs in a dose dependent manner as verified by growth curve and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation assays; While in neural induction medium, lithium (0.1 mM) promotes neural differentiation of GFP-MSCs as verified by immunostaining and quantitative analysis. After transplantation of GFP-MSCs into the rat spinal cord, lithium treatment enhanced cell survival and neural differentiation after transplantation as verified by immunohistochemistry. These data suggested that lithium could be a potential drug to augment the therapeutic efficiency of MSCs transplantation therapy in central nervous system (CNS) disorders.