Cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic approach for repairing neuropathological and
neurodegenerative disorders of central nervous system by replacing the degenerated cells
with new ones. Among a variety of stem cell candidates to provide these new cells, olfactory
ectomesenchymal stem cells (OE-MSCs) have attracted a great attention due to their neural
crest origin, easy harvest, high proliferation, and autologous transplantation. Since there is no
report on differentiation potential of these cells into motor neuron-like cells, we evaluated
this potential using Real-time PCR, flowcytometry and immunocytochemistry after the
treatment with differentiation cocktail containing retinoic acid and Sonic Hedgehog.
Immunocytochemistry staining of the isolated OE-MSCs demonstrated their capability to
express nestin and vimentin, as the two markers of primitive neuroectoderm. The motor
neuron differentiation of OE-MSCs resulted in changing their morphology into bipolar cells
with high expression of motor neuron markers of ChAT, Hb-9 and Islet-1 at the level of
mRNA and protein. Consequently, we believe that the OE-MSCs have great potential to
differentiate into motor neuron-like cells and can be an ideal stem cell source for the
treatment of motor neuron-related disorders of central nervous system.