In vitro modulation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) receptor expression by bone marrow stromal cells

Manuela Marcoli, Simona Candiani, Laura Tonachini, Massimiliano Monticone, Maddalena Mastrogiacomo, Andrea Ottonello, Chiara Cervetto, Paola Paluzzi, Guido Maura, Mario Pestarino, Ranieri Cancedda, Patrizio Castagnola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) have the capability to undergo a change of morphology, reminiscent of neuronal cells, after exposure to an inductive medium. These induced BMSC-derived neuron-like (BDNL) cells express several neuronal markers, including Microtubule-Associated Protein Tau, Neurofilament M, and Nestin as revealed by immunocytochemistry analysis. To assess whether the induction process has possible functional relevance, we have focused our attention on the expression of neurotransmitter receptors. In particular, we show that the expression of GABAA subunits α1, β2/3, ε and GABAB1 mRNAs is greatly enhanced in BMSC by the induction treatment. Similar results were obtained from rat skin fibroblasts subjected to the same induction protocol, with the exception for the GABAB2 transcript that was expressed only by BMSC and BDNL. The presence of both GABAB1 and GABAB2 subunits in BDNL cells suggests that functional GABAB receptors might be assembled: we indeed found that a functional GABAB receptor, negatively linked to cyclic AMP production, is expressed in BDNL. Therefore, we suggest that BMSC can be converted into cells equipped with appropriate receptors coupled to transduction mechanisms, potentially responding to a specific neurotransmitter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Bone marrow stromal cells
  • GABA receptors
  • Gene expression
  • Pharmacological assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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