Olfactory ensheathing cells: Attractant of neural progenitor migration to olfactory bulb

Yanling Zhu, Li Cao, Zhida Su, Lifang Mu, Yimin Yuan, Liang Gao, Yang Qiu, Cheng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) are the glial cells that derive from the olfactory placode, envelop olfactory axons in the course of migration from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb and reside primarily in the olfactory nerve layer. OECs transplantation as a promising experimental therapy for axonal injuries has been intensively studied; however, little is known about their roles in olfactory bulb development. In this study, we examined the effects of OECs on the migration of neural progenitors in rostral migratory stream (RMS). Initially, the neurosphere migration assay showed that OEC-conditioned medium promoted progenitors to migrate from RMS neurospheres in a concentration dependent manner. Moreover, co-culturing OECs nearby the RMS explants led to asymmetric migration of explants in different developing stages. However, OECs could influence the migration in a distance not further than 1.5 mm. Finally, slice assay that mimic the circumstance in vivo revealed that OECs had a chemoattractive activity on RMS neural progenitors. Together, these results demonstrate that OECs attract neural progenitors in RMS through the release of diffusible factors and it is likely that OECs mainly influence radial migration in the olfactory bulb but not tangential migration of the RMS in vivo during development. This suggests a previously unknown function for OECs in olfactory development and a novel mechanism underlying the targeting of RMS cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-729
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 15 2010


  • Migration
  • Neural progenitors
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Olfactory ensheathing cells
  • Rostral migratory stream

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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