AMP-activated kinase mediates adipose stem cell-stimulated neuritogenesis of PC12 cells

B. Tan, Z. Luan, X. Wei, Y. He, G. Wei, B. H. Johnstone, M. Farlow, Y. Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Adipose tissue stroma contains a population of mesenchymal stem cells, which support repair of damaged tissues through the protective effects of secreted trophic factors. Neurotrophic factors, including nerve growth factor (NGF) have been identified in media collected from cultured adipose-derived stem cells (ASC). We previously demonstrated that administration of cell-free ASC conditioned medium (ASC-CM) at 24 h after injury reduced lesion volume and promoted functional recovery in a rat model of neonatal brain hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury. The timing of administration well after the peak in neural cell apoptosis in the affected region suggests that regeneration of lost neurons is promoted by factors in ASC-CM. In this study, we determined which of the factors in ASC-CM could induce neurogenesis by testing the ability of the mixture, either whole or after inactivating specific components, to stimulate neurite outgrowth in vitro using the neurogenic cell line PC12. Neuritogenesis in PC12 cells treated with ASC-CM was observed at a level comparable to that observed with purified recombinant NGF. It was observed that NGF in ASC-CM was mainly responsible for inducing PC12 cell neuritogenesis. Interestingly, both ASC-CM and NGF induced PC12 cell neuritogenesis through activation of the AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) pathway which is the central protein involved in controlling many critical functions in response to changes in the cellular energy status. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of AMPK activity greatly reduced neuritogenesis in PC12 cells. These results suggest that, in addition to possessing neuroprotective properties, ASC-CM mediates repair of damaged tissues through inducing neuronal differentiation via NGF-induced AMPK activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 5 2011


  • Adipose-derived stromal cell
  • ASC conditioned medium
  • Differentiation
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Neurons
  • PC-12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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