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Open Access Noninvasive Bioluminescence Imaging of Olfactory Ensheathing Glia and Schwann Cells Following Transplantation Into the Lesioned Rat Spinal Cord

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In this study, we assess the feasibility of bioluminescence imaging to monitor the survival of Schwann cells (SCs) and olfactory ensheathing glia cells (OECs) after implantation in the lesioned spinal cord of adult rats. To this end, purified SCs and OECs were genetically modified with lentiviral vectors encoding luciferase-2 and GFP and implanted in the lesioned dorsal column. The bioluminescent signal was monitored for over 3 months, and at 7 and 98 days postsurgery, the signal was compared to standard histological analysis of GFP expression in the spinal cords. The temporal profile of the bioluminescent signal showed three distinct phases for both cell types. (I) A relatively stable signal in the first week. (II) A progressive decline in signal strength in the second and third week. (III) After the third week, the average bioluminescent signal stabilized for both cell types. Interestingly, in the first week, the peak of the bioluminescent signal after luciferin injection was delayed when compared to later time points. Similar to in vitro, our data indicated a linear relationship between the in vivo bioluminescent signal and the GFP signal of the SCs and OECs in the spinal cords when the results of both the 7 and 98 day time points are combined. This is the first report of the use of in vivo bioluminescence to monitor cell survival in the lesioned rat spinal cord. Bioluminescence could be a potentially powerful, noninvasive strategy to examine the efficacy of treatments that aim to improve the survival of proregenerative cells transplanted in the injured rat spinal cord.

Keywords: Bioluminescence; Luciferase; Noninvasive; Olfactory ensheathing cell; Schwann cell; Spinal cord; Survival

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2012

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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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