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Survival, Integration, and Axon Growth Support of Glia Transplanted Into the Chronically Contused Spinal Cord

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Abstract:

Due to an ever-growing population of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury, there is a need for experimental models to translate efficacious regenerative and reparative acute therapies to chronic injury application. The present study assessed the ability of fluid grafts of either Schwann cells (SCs) or olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) to facilitate the growth of supraspinal and afferent axons and promote restitution of hind limb function after transplantation into a 2-month-old, moderate, thoracic (T8) contusion in the rat. The use of cultured glial cells, transduced with lentiviral vectors encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), permitted long-term tracking of the cells following spinal cord transplantation to examine their survival, migration, and axonal association. At 3 months following grafting of 2 million SCs or OEG in 6 l of DMEM/F12 medium into the injury site, stereological quantification of the three-dimensional reconstructed spinal cords revealed that an average of 17.1 ± 6.8% of the SCs and 2.3 ± 1.4% of the OEG survived from the number transplanted. In the OEG grafted spinal cord, a limited number of glia were unable to prevent central cavitation and were found in patches around the cavity rim. The transplanted SCs, however, formed a substantive graft within the injury site capable of supporting the ingrowth of numerous, densely packed neurofilament-positive axons. The SC grafts were able to support growth of both ascending calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-positive and supraspinal serotonergic axons and, although no biotinylated dextran amine (BDA)-traced corticospinal axons were present within the center of the grafts, the SC transplants significantly increased corticospinal axon numbers immediately rostral to the injury–graft site compared with injury-only controls. Moreover, SC grafted animals demonstrated modest, though significant, improvements in open field locomotion and exhibited less foot position errors (base of support and foot rotation). Whereas these results demonstrate that SC grafts survive, support axon growth, and can improve functional outcome after chronic contusive spinal cord injury, further development of OEG grafting procedures in this model and putative combination strategies with SC grafts need to be further explored to produce substantial improvements in axon growth and function.

Keywords: Chronic; Contusion; Olfactory ensheathing glia; Regeneration; Schwann cells; Sensory; Spinal cord injury

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000005783983106

Affiliations: 1: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136 2: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136

Publication date: April 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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