Efficacy of cell-based therapies for traumatic brain injuries

Matthew R. Chrostek, Emily G. Fellows, Winston L. Guo, William J. Swanson, Andrew T. Crane, Maxim C. Cheeran, Walter C. Low, Andrew W. Grande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of death and disability. Additionally, growing evidence suggests a link between TBI-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disorders. Treatments for TBI patients are limited, largely focused on rehabilitation therapy, and ultimately, fail to provide long-term neuroprotective or neurorestorative benefits. Because of the prevalence of TBI and lack of viable treatments, new therapies are needed which can promote neurological recovery. Cell-based treatments are a promising avenue because of their potential to provide multiple therapeutic benefits. Cell-based therapies can promote neuroprotection via modulation of inflammation and promote neurorestoration via induction of angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Neural stem/progenitor cell transplantations have been investigated in preclinical TBI models for their ability to directly contribute to neuroregeneration, form neural-like cells, and improve recovery. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been investigated in clinical trials through multiple different routes of administration. Intravenous administration of MSCs appears most promising, demonstrating a robust safety profile, correlation with neurological improvements, and reductions in systemic inflammation following TBI. While still preliminary, evidence suggests cell-based therapies may become a viable treatment for TBI based on their ability to promote neuroregeneration and reduce inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number270
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Higher Education.

Funding Information:
This research was supported through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Higher Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Inflammation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neuroregeneration
  • Stem cells
  • Traumatic brain injury


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