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Open Access Survival and Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Neural Precursors Grafted Spinally in Spinal Ischemia-Injured Rats or in Naive Immunosuppressed Minipigs: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study

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In previous studies, we have demonstrated that spinal grafting of human or rat fetal spinal neural precursors leads to amelioration of spasticity and improvement in ambulatory function in rats with spinal ischemic injury. In the current study, we characterize the survival and maturation of three different human embryonic stem (ES) cell line-derived neural precursors (hNPCs) once grafted into ischemia-injured lumbar spinal cord in rats or in naive immunosuppressed minipigs. Proliferating HUES-2, HUES-7, or HUES-9 colonies were induced to form embryoid bodies. During the nestin-positive stage, the rosettes were removed and CD184+/CD271/CD44/CD24+ population of ES-hNPCs FAC-sorted and expanded. Male Sprague-Dawley rats with spinal ischemic injury or naive immunosuppressed Gottingen-Minnesota minipigs received 10 bilateral injections of ES-NPCs into the L2‐L5 gray matter. After cell grafting, animals survived for 2 weeks to 4.5 months, and the presence of grafted cells was confirmed after staining spinal cord sections with a combination of human-specific (hNUMA, HO14, hNSE, hSYN) or nonspecific (DCX, MAP2, CHAT, GFAP, APC) antibodies. In the majority of grafted animals, hNUMA-positive grafted cells were identified. At 2‐4 weeks after grafting, double-labeled hNUMA/DCX-immunoreactive neurons were seen with extensive DCX+ processes. At survival intervals of 4‐8 weeks, hNSE+ neurons and expression of hSYN was identified. Some hSYN-positive terminals formed putative synapses with the host neurons. Quantitative analysis of hNUMA+ cells at 2 months after grafting showed comparable cell survival for all three cell lines. In the presence of low-level immunosuppression, no grafted cell survival was seen at 4.5 months after grafting. Spinal grafting of proliferating pluripotent HUES-7 cells led to consistent teratoma formation at 2‐6 weeks after cell transplantation. These data show that ES-derived, FAC-sorted NPCs can represent an effective source of human NPCs to be used in CNS cell replacement therapies.

Keywords: Human embryonic stem (ES) cells; Minipig; Neuronal precursors (NPCs); Rat; Spinal cord grafting; Spinal cord ischemia

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 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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