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Open Access Transplantation of Autologous Activated Schwann Cells in the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury: Six Cases, More Than Five Years of Follow-up

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Schwann cells (SCs) are the main glial cells of the peripheral nervous system, which can promote neural regeneration. Grafting of autologous SCs is one of the well-established and commonly performed procedures for peripheral nerve repair. With the aim to improve the clinical condition of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), a program of grafting autologous activated Schwann cells (AASCs), as well as a series of appropriate neurorehabilitation programs, was employed to achieve the best therapeutic effects. We selected six patients who had a history of SCI before transplantation. At first, AASCs were obtained by prior ligation of sural nerve and subsequently isolated, cultured, and purified in vitro. Then the patients accepted an operation of laminectomy and cell transplantation, and no severe adverse event was observed in any of these patients. Motor and sensitive improvements were evaluated by means of American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading and Functional Independence Measure (FIM); bladder and urethral function were determined by clinical and urodynamic examination; somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were used to further confirm the functional recovery following transplantation. The patients were followed up for more than 5 years. All of the patients showed some signs of improvement in autonomic, motor, and sensory function. So we concluded that AASC transplantation might be feasible, safe, and effective to promote neurorestoration of SCI patients.

Keywords: Autologous activated Schwann cells (AASCs); Cell transplantation; Humans; Spinal cord injury (SCI)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Orthopaedics, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin, P.R. China

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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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.
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