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Open Access Neural Progenitor Cells Generate Motoneuron-Like Cells to Form Functional Connections With Target Muscles After Transplantation Into the Musculocutaneous Nerve

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Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are suggested to be a valuable source of cell transplant in treatment of various neurological diseases because of their distinct attributes. They can be expanded and induced to differentiate in vitro. However, it remains uncertain whether in vitro expanded NPCs have the capacity to give rise to functional motoneurons after transplantation in vivo. Here, we showed that in vitro expanded NPCs, when transplanted into the musculocutaneous nerve, generated motoneuron-like cells that exhibited typical morphology with large cell bodies, expressed specific molecules, and extended axons to form functional connections with the target muscle. In contrast, transplanted NPCs failed to yield motoneurons in the injured ventral horn of the spinal cord. The results of the study demonstrate that NPCs have the potential to generate functional motoneurons in an appropriate environment. The distinct differentiating fate of NPCs in the musculocutaneous nerve and the injured ventral horn suggests the importance and necessity of modifying the host microenvironment in use of NPCs for cell replacement therapies for motoneuron diseases.

Keywords: Motoneurons; Nerve injury; Neural progenitor cells (NPCs); Spinal cord; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • 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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