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Journal of Neurorestoratology  2021, Vol. 9 Issue (2): 137-150    doi: 10.26599/JNR.2021.9040011
Research Article     
A pilot study of clinical cell therapy for patients with vascular dementia
Yunliang Wang1,Xiaoling Guo2,Yanqiu Liu1,Yan Li2,Ying Liu3,Di Chen4,Juan Xiao4,Wenyong Gao4,Yajun Liu1,Bo Zhou2,Ran Liu1,Fei Liu5,Weidong Chen6,Deqiang Guo5,Gensheng Mao3,Hongyun Huang4,(✉)()
1Neurological Center, The 960th Hospital of Chinese PLA, Zibo 255300, Shandong, China
2Neurological Department, The 981st Hospital of Chinese PLA, Chengde 067000, Hebei, China
3Institute of Neurorestoratology, The Third Medical Center of the General Hospital of The PLA, Beijing 100039, China
4Beijing Hongtianji Neuroscience Academy, Beijing 100143, China
5E.N.T. Department, The 960th Hospital of Chinese PLA, Zibo 255300, Shandong, China
6E.N.T. Department, The 981st Hospital of Chinese PLA, Chengde 067000, Hebei, China
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Abstract  Background:

Vascular dementia (VD) is a series of clinical and neurophysiological manifestations caused by cerebrovascular disease. As the human lifespan increases, the number of people affected by age-related dementia is growing at an alarming pace, but no proved therapeutic methods can stop it from getting worse.


To investigate the neurorestorative effects of injecting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), Schwann cells (SCs), and olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) into olfactory sub-mucosa in VD patients.


A pilot study of double-blind randomized controlled cell therapies was conducted in VD patients (n = 5). Cells were injected into the patients’ olfactory sub-mucosa. Two patients received OEC treatment, one received SC treatment, one ORN treatment, and one OEC combined with ORN. Mental state and cognitive function were observed before treatment and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) was performed before treatment and 12 months after treatment.


The directional function score on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) in the patient who received SC treatment had increased slightly 1 and 3 months after treatment. The scores for orientation, attention, delayed verbal recall, and repetition increased in the ORN group patient 1 month after treatment. The orientation and repetition scores of the ORN group patient continued to increase 3 months after treatment. The scores for attention, delayed verbal recall, and phase 3 command decreased in the OEC and the OEC + ORN group patients after treatment assessment Scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale also improved in the ORN group patient. Clinical and MRI or CT examinations did not find any side effects from the cell therapy or transplanting procedure.


All of the cell transplantations were found to be safe. ORN was shown to be a promising therapy for VD patients. Phase II clinical trials of ORN, SC, and OEC therapy are required to verify their effects on VD symptoms, especially ORNs.

Key wordsvascular dementia      cell therapy      cognitive evaluation;neurorestorative effects     
Received: 08 May 2021      Published: 19 October 2021
Corresponding Authors: Hongyun Huang     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Yunliang Wang,Xiaoling Guo,Yanqiu Liu,Yan Li,Ying Liu,Di Chen,Juan Xiao,Wenyong Gao,Yajun Liu,Bo Zhou,Ran Liu,Fei Liu,Weidong Chen,Deqiang Guo,Gensheng Mao,Hongyun Huang. A pilot study of clinical cell therapy for patients with vascular dementia. Journal of Neurorestoratology, 2021, 9: 137-150.

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14] with permission from the authors, ? the authors.
Fig. 1Diagram of cell injection and migration. After the cells were injected into the olfactory sub-mucosa, they migrated into the olfactory bulb and then to the lesion area. Reproduced from Ref. [14] with permission from the authors, ? the authors.
Assessment scoreBaseline1 month after treatment3 months after treatment6 months after treatment1 year after treatment
SC group (n = 1) Total68866
Immediate recall23333
Delayed verbal recall00000
3-stage command00000
OEC group (n = 2)Patient ATotal1515121010
Immediate recall12000
Delayed verbal recall00000
3-stage command31100
Patient BTotal1718131312
Immediate recall23222
Delayed verbal recall12000
3-stage command33222
ORN group (n = 1) Total1523242424
Immediate recall33333
Delayed verbal recall02111
3-stage command33333
OEC + ORN group (n = 1) Total2724242323
Immediate recall33333
Delayed verbal recall22211
3-stage command32222
Table 1Functional scores on MMSE.
Assessment scoreBaseline1 month after treatment3 months after treatment6 months after treatment1 year after treatment
SC group (n=1) Total00000
Delayed recall00000
OEC group (n = 2)Patient ATotal1011766
Delayed recall00000
Patient BTotal1311865
Delayed recall10000
ORN group (n = 1) Total58101111
Delayed recall00000
OEC + ORN group (n = 1) Total2320191919
Delayed recall00000
Table 2Functional scores on MoCA.
Assessment scoreBaseline1 month after treatment3 months after treatment6 months after treatment1 year after treatment
SC group (n = 1) CDR33333
Judgment and problem solving33333
Community affairs33333
Home and hobbies33333
Personal care33333
OEC group (n = 2)Patient ACDR13333
Judgment and problem solving13333
Community affairs13333
Home and hobbies13333
Personal care03333
Patient BCDR22222
Judgment and problem solving22333
Community affairs22222
Home and hobbies33333
Personal care22222
ORN group (n = 1) CDR22111
Judgment and problem solving21111
Community affairs21111
Home and hobbies22222
Personal care02110
OEC + ORN group (n = 1) CDR11111
Judgment and problem solving11111
Community affairs0.51111
Home and hobbies11111
Personal care00000
Table 3Functional scores on CDR scale.
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