Cellular and Molecular Biology



The therapeutic potential of human olfactory-derived stem cells

C.T. Marshall1, C. Lu1, W. Winstead2, X. Zhang1, M. Xiao1, G. Harding1, K.M. Klueber1 and F.J. Roisen1

1Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology and 2Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA

Offprint requests to: Dr. Fred J. Roisen, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 500 South Preston Street, Room 912, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. e-mail: fjrois01@gwise.louisville.edu

Summary. Stem cells from fetal and adult central nervous system have been isolated and characterized, providing populations for potential replacement therapy for traumatic injury repair and neurodegenerative diseases. The regenerative capacity of the olfactory system has attracted scientific interest. Studies focusing on animal and human olfactory bulb ensheathing cells (OECs) have heightened the expectations that OECs can enhance axonal regeneration and repair demyelinating diseases. Harvest of OECs from the olfactory bulb requires highly invasive surgery, which is a major obstacle. In contrast, olfactory epithelium (OE) has a unique regenerative capacity and is readily accessible from its location in the nasal cavity, allowing for harvest without lasting damage to the donor. Adult OE contains progenitors responsible for the normal life-long continuous replacement of neurons and supporting cells. Culture techniques have been established for human OE that generate populations of mitotically active neural progenitors that form neurospheres (Roisen et al., 2001; Winstead et al., 2005). The potential application of this technology includes autologous transplantation where minimal donor material can be isolated, expanded ex vivo, and lineage restricted to a desired phenotype prior to/or after re-implantation. Furthermore, these strategies circumvent the ethical issues that arise with embryonic or fetal tissues. The long term goal is to develop procedures through which a victim of a spinal cord injury or neurodegenerative condition would serve as a source of progenitors for his/her own regenerative grafts, avoiding the need for immunosuppression and ethical controversy. In addition, these cells can provide populations for pharmacological and/or diagnostic evaluation. Histol Histopathol 21, 633-643 (2006)

Key words: Stem cells, Progenitors, Olfactory, Neurosensory epithelium, Human

DOI: 10.14670/HH-21.633