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Stem Cell-Based Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury

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Traumatic injuries to the spinal cord lead to severe and permanent neurological deficits. Although no effective therapeutic option is currently available, recent animal studies have shown that cellular transplantation strategies hold promise to enhance functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). This review is to analyze the experiments where transplantation of stem/progenitor cells produced successful functional outcome in animal models of SCI. There is no consensus yet on what kind of stem/progenitor cells is an ideal source for cellular grafts. Three kinds of stem/progenitor cells have been utilized in cell therapy in animal models of SCI: embryonic stem cells, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, and neural stem cells. Neural stem cells or fate-restricted neuronal or glial progenitor cells were preferably used because they have clear capacity to become neurons or glial cells after transplantation into the injured spinal cord. At least a part of functional deficits after SCI is attributable to chronic progressive demyelination. Therefore, several studies transplanted glial-restricted progenitors or oligodendrocyte precursors to target the demyelination process. Directed differentiation of stem/progenitor cells to oligodendrocyte lineage prior to transplantation or modulation of microenvironment in the injured spinal cord to promote oligodendroglial differentiation seems to be an effective strategy to increase the extent of remyelination. Transplanted stem/progenitor cells can also contribute to promoting axonal regeneration by functioning as cellular scaffolds for growing axons. Combinatorial approaches using polymer scaffolds to fill the lesion cavity or introducing regeneration-promoting genes will greatly increase the efficacy of cellular transplantation strategies for SCI.
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Keywords: Demyelination; Neural stem cell; Regeneration; Spinal cord injury; Transplantation

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Brain Disease Research Center, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, 443-721, Republic of Korea 2: Brain Disease Research Center, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, 443-721, Republic of Korea, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, UBC Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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