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Open Access Optimization of Immunosuppressive Therapy for Spinal Grafting of Human Spinal Stem Cells in a Rat Model of ALS

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Previous rodent studies employing monotherapy or combined immunosuppressive regimens have demonstrated a variable degree of spinal xenograft survival in several spinal neurodegenerative models including spinal ischemia, trauma, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Accordingly, the characterization of optimal immunosuppressive protocols for the specific neurodegenerative model is critical to ensure reliable assessment of potential long-term therapeutic effects associated with cell replacement. In the present study we characterized the survival of human spinal stem cells when grafted into the lumbar spinal cords of a rodent model of ALS, SOD1 (G93A) male and female rats (60‐67 days old). Four different immunosuppressive protocols were studied: i) FK506 (q12h); ii) FK506 (qd) + mycophenolate (PO; q12h, up to 7 days postop); iii) FK506 (qd) + mycophenolate (IP; q12h, up to 7 days postop); and iv) FK506 (qd) + mycophenolate (IP; qd, up to 7 days postop). Three weeks after cell grafting the number of surviving human cells was then systematically assessed. The highest density of grafted cells was seen in animals treated with FK506 (qd) and mycophenolate (IP; qd; an average 915 ± 95 grafted cells per spinal cord section). The majority of hNUMA-positive cells colocalized with doublecortin (DCX) immunoreactivity. DCX-positive neurons showed extensive axodendritic sprouting toward surrounding host neurons. In addition, migrating grafted cells were identified up to 500 μm from the graft. In animals treated with FK506 (q12h), FK506 (qd) + mycophenolate (PO; q12h) or FK506 (qd) + mycophenolate (IP; q12h), 11.8 ± 3.4%, 61.2 ± 7.8%, and 99.4 ± 8.9% [expressed as percent of the FK506 (qd) and mycophenolate (IP; qd)] cell survival was seen, respectively. In contrast to animals treated with a combination of FK506 + mycophenolate, robust CD4/8 immunoreactivity was identified in the vicinity of the injection tract in animals treated with FK506 only. These data suggest that a combined, systemically delivered immunosuppression regimen including FK506 and mycophenolate can significantly improve survival of human spinal stem cells after intraspinal transplantation in SOD1 (G93A) rats.

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Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); FK506; Human spinal stem cells; Mycophenolate; Superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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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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