Beneficial effects of melatonin combined with exercise on endogenous neural stem/progenitor cells proliferation after spinal cord injury.

International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.34). 02/2014; 15(2):2207-22. DOI: 10.3390/ijms15022207
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Endogenous neural stem/progenitor cells (eNSPCs) proliferate and differentiate into neurons and glial cells after spinal cord injury (SCI). We have previously shown that melatonin (MT) plus exercise (Ex) had a synergistic effect on functional recovery after SCI. Thus, we hypothesized that combined therapy including melatonin and exercise might exert a beneficial effect on eNSPCs after SCI. Melatonin was administered twice a day and exercise was performed on a treadmill for 15 min, six days per week for 3 weeks after SCI. Immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR analysis were used to determine cell population for late response, in conjunction with histological examination and motor function test. There was marked improvement in hindlimb function in SCI+MT+Ex group at day 14 and 21 after injury, as documented by the reduced size of the spinal lesion and a higher density of dendritic spines and axons; such functional improvements were associated with increased numbers of BrdU-positive cells. Furthermore, MAP2 was increased in the injured thoracic segment, while GFAP was increased in the cervical segment, along with elevated numbers of BrdU-positive nestin-expressing eNSPCs in the SCI+MT+Ex group. The dendritic spine density was augmented markedly in SCI+MT and SCI+MT+Ex groups.These results suggest a synergistic effect of SCI+MT+Ex might create a microenvironment to facilitate proliferation of eNSPCs to effectively replace injured cells and to improve regeneration in SCI.

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