Neurotrophin 3 Promotes Purification and Proliferation of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells from Human Nose

John I. Bianco, Chris Perry, Damien G. Harkin, Alan Mackay-Sim, Francois Féron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies have demonstrated the potential of olfactory ensheathing cells for the repair of central and peripheral nerve injury. However, the majority of these studies have been performed with olfactory ensheathing cells derived from the olfactory bulbs, situated inside the skull. A more clinically relevant source of olfactory ensheathing cells is the olfactory mucosa, located in the nose. To be successful, an autologous transplant of nasal ensheathing glia would require a large number of purified cells. To address this issue, we have focused our research on three neurotrophic factors, namely nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and neurotrophin 3 (NT3). We show here that their respective receptors, TrkA, TrkB, TrkC, as well as p75NTR (the low affinity NGF receptor), are expressed in vitro by the nasal ensheathing cells; the three neurotrophins promote purification and proliferation of these glial cells, with an optimal concentration of 50 ng/ml; and human ensheathing cells can be easily biopsied and highly purified using a serum-free medium supplemented with NT3. This technique opens the door for clinical trials in which nasal ensheathing cells will be autotransplanted in humans suffering from nerve injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ensheathing cells
  • Nerve repair
  • Neurotrophins
  • Olfactory mucosa


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