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Open Access Human Mesenchymal Precursor Cells (Stro-1+) From Spinal Cord Injury Patients Improve Functional Recovery and Tissue Sparing in an Acute Spinal Cord Injury Rat Model

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This study aimed to determine the potential of purified (Stro-1+) human mesenchymal precursor cells (hMPCs) to repair the injured spinal cord (SC) after transplantation into T-cell-deficient athymic RNU nude rats following acute moderate contusive spinal cord injury (SCI). hMPCs were isolated from the bone marrow (BM) stroma of SCI patients and transplanted as a suspension graft in medium [with or without immunosuppression using cyclosporin A (CsA)]. Extensive anatomical analysis shows statistically significant improvement in functional recovery, tissue sparing, and cyst reduction. We provide quantitative assessment of supraspinal projections in combination with functional outcomes. hMPC-transplanted animals consistently achieved mean BBB scores of 15 at 8 weeks post injury. Quantitative histological staining revealed that graft-recipient animals possessed more intact spinal tissue and reduced cyst formation than controls. Fluorogold (FG) retrograde tracing revealed sparing/regeneration of supraspinal and local propriospinal axonal pathways, but no statistical differences were observed compared to controls. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed increased serotonergic (5-HT) and sensory (CGRP) axonal growth within and surrounding transplanted donor hMPCs 2 weeks posttransplantation, but no evidence of hMPC transdifferentiation was seen. Although hMPCs initially survive at 2 weeks posttransplantation, their numbers were dramatically reduced and no cells were detected at 8 weeks posttransplantation using retroviral/lentiviral GFP labeling and a human nuclear antigen (HNA) antibody. Additional immunosuppression with CsA did not improve hMPC survival or their ability to promote tissue sparing or functional recovery. We propose Stro-1+-selected hMPCs provide (i) a reproducible source for stem cell transplantation for SC therapy and (ii) a positive host microenvironment resulting in the promotion of tissue sparing/repair that subsequently improves behavioral outcomes after SCI. Our results provide a new candidate for consideration as a stem cell therapy for the repair of traumatic CNS injury.
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Keywords: Cellular therapy; Contusion; Mesenchymal precursors; Spinal cord (SC); Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eileen Bond Spinal Cord Research Laboratory, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia

Publication date: 2013-03-01

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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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