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Open Access Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Electroacupuncture Downregulate the Inhibitor Molecules and Promote the Axonal Regeneration in the Transected Spinal Cord of Rats

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Our previous study has reported that electroacupuncture (EA) promotes survival, differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and functional improvement in spinal cord-transected rats. In this study, we further investigated the structural bases of this functional improvement and the potential mechanisms of axonal regeneration in injured spinal cord after MSCs and EA treatment. Five experimental groups, 1) sham control (Sham-control); 2) operated control (Op-control); 3) electroacupuncture treatment (EA); 4) MSCs transplantation (MSCs), and 5) MSCs transplantation combined with electroacupuncture (MSCs + EA), were designed for this study. Western blots and immunohistochemical staining were used to assess the fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) proteins expression. Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) locomotion test, cortical motor evoked potentials (MEPs), and anterograde and retrograde tracing were utilized to assess cortical-spinal neuronal projection regeneration and functional recovery. In the MSCs + EA group, increased labeling descending corticospinal tract (CST) projections into the lesion site showed significantly improved BBB scales and enhanced motor evoked potentials after 10 weeks of MSCs transplant and EA treatment. The structural and functional recovery after MSCs + EA treatment may be due to downregulated GFAP and CSPGs protein expression, which prevented axonal degeneration as well as improved axonal regeneration.

Keywords: Axonal regeneration; Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; Electroacupuncture; Spinal cord transection; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Neuroscience, Department of Histology and Embryology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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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.

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