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Open Access Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells Increase Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival and Axon Regeneration in the Adult Rat

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The central nervous system (CNS) of adult mammals generally does not regenerate, and many studies have attempted to identify factors that could increase neuroprotection and/or axonal outgrowth after CNS lesions. Using the optic nerve crush of rats as a model for CNS injury, we investigated the effect of intravitreal transplantation of syngeneic bone-marrow mononuclear cells (BMMCs) on the survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and on the regeneration of optic axons. Control animals received intravitreal saline injections after lesion. Injections of BMMCs resulted in a 1.6-fold increase in the number of RGCs surviving 14 days after injury. The BMMC-treated animals also had increased numbers of axons, which grew up to 1.5 mm from the crush site, and also had reduced Müller glia activation. Analysis of mRNAs in all conditions revealed an increase in levels of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) mRNA in treated animals 14 days after injury. To investigate whether the regenerated axons could reach the brain, we retrograde labeled the RGCs by injecting a lipophilic tracer into the superior colliculus. We also analyzed the expression of NGFI-A in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus as a possible marker of synaptic input from RGC axons. We found evidence that more RGCs were able to reach the brain after treatment and we showed that NGFI-A expression was higher in the treated animals 60 days after injury. These results demonstrate that transplant of BMMCs can increase neuroprotection and neuroregeneration after injury in a model of optic nerve crush, and these effects could be mediated by FGF-2.
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Keywords: Axonal outgrowth; Cell therapy; Neuroprotection; Optic nerve; Retina; Stem cells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Programa de Terapia Celular and Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • 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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