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The role of olfactory ensheating cells in regenerative medicine: review of the literature

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Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) join olfactory axons in their entrance to the central nervous system, representing a unique population of glial cells with functions in olfactory neurogenesis, axonal growth and olfactory bulb formation. Olfactory ensheathing cells have a great potential to induce repair for neural injuries, in central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, existing numerous experimental and clinical studies lately, reporting beneficial effects in anatomical and functional recovery. Studies are also conducted in order to establish possible pro-regenerative effects of the OECs, their potential in tissue repair and ability to modulate the immune system. The aim of this paper was to review the properties of olfactory ensheathing cells and their potential therapeutic role in regenerative medicine.