Mesenchymal cells (MCs) exhibit great regenerative potential due to their intrinsic properties and ability to restore tissue function, either directly through transdifferentiation or indirectly through paracrine effects. This study aimed to evaluate morphometric and phenotypic changes in MCs grown with facial nerve-conditioned medium in the presence or absence of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2). For quantitative phenotypic analysis, the expression of GFAP, OX-42, MAP-2, β-tubulin III, NeuN, and NF-200 was analyzed by immunocytochemistry. Cells cultured with facial nerve-conditioned medium in the presence of FGF-2 expressed GFAP, OX-42, MAP-2, β-tubulin III, NeuN, and NF-200. On average, the area and perimeter of GFAP-positive cells were higher in the group cultured with facial nerve-conditioned medium compared to the group cultured with conditioned medium and FGF-2 (p=0.0001). This study demonstrated the plasticity of MCs for neuronal and glial lineages and opens up new research perspectives in cell therapy and trans.differentiation.
KEY WORDS: Mesenchymal stem cells; Facial nerve injury; Fibroblast growth factor 2; Conditioned medium; Plasticity; Trans-differentiation.