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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 5078619, 16 pages
Review Article

Bone Marrow-Derived Cells as a Therapeutic Approach to Optic Nerve Diseases

1Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas (INI), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 9 August 2015; Accepted 10 September 2015

Academic Editor: Armand Keating

Copyright © 2016 Louise A. Mesentier-Louro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Following optic nerve injury associated with acute or progressive diseases, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) of adult mammals degenerate and undergo apoptosis. These diseases have limited therapeutic options, due to the low inherent capacity of RGCs to regenerate and due to the inhibitory milieu of the central nervous system. Among the numerous treatment approaches investigated to stimulate neuronal survival and axonal extension, cell transplantation emerges as a promising option. This review focuses on cell therapies with bone marrow mononuclear cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, which have shown positive therapeutic effects in animal models of optic neuropathies. Different aspects of available preclinical studies are analyzed, including cell distribution, potential doses, routes of administration, and mechanisms of action. Finally, published and ongoing clinical trials are summarized.