Research Reports - The potential of stem cells in treatment of traumatic brain injury

Nicole M. Weston, Dong Sun

Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports
January 2018, 18:1

Purpose of Review
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health concern, with limited treatment options available. Despite improving survival rate after TBI, treatment is lacking for brain functional recovery and structural repair in clinic. Recent studies have suggested that the mature brain harbors neural stem cells which have regenerative capacity following brain insults. Much progress has been made in preclinical TBI model studies in understanding the behaviors, functions, and regulatory mechanisms of neural stem cells in the injured brain. Different strategies targeting these cell population have been assessed in TBI models. In parallel, cell transplantation strategy using a wide range of stem cells has been explored for TBI treatment in pre-clinical studies and some in clinical trials. This review summarized strategies which have been explored to enhance endogenous neural stem cell-mediated regeneration and recent development in cell transplantation studies for post-TBI brain repair.

Recent Findings
Thus far, neural regeneration through neural stem cells either by modulating endogenous neural stem cells or by stem cell transplantation has attracted much attention. It is highly speculated that targeting neural stem cells could be a potential strategy to repair and regenerate the injured brain.

Neuroprotection and neuroregeneration are major aspects for TBI therapeutic development. With technique advancement, it is hoped that stem cell-based therapy targeting neuroregeneration will be able to translate to clinic in not so far future.

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