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Open Access Transplantation of Bone Marrow Stromal Cell-Derived Neural Precursor Cells Ameliorates Deficits in a Rat Model of Complete Spinal Cord Transection

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Abstract:

After severe spinal cord injury, spontaneous functional recovery is limited. Numerous studies have demonstrated cell transplantation as a reliable therapeutic approach. However, it remains unknown whether grafted neuronal cells could replace lost neurons and reconstruct neuronal networks in the injured spinal cord. To address this issue, we transplanted bone marrow stromal cell-derived neural progenitor cells (BM-NPCs) in a rat model of complete spinal cord transection 9 days after the injury. BM-NPCs were induced from bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) by gene transfer of the Notch-1 intracellular domain followed by culturing in the neurosphere method. As reported previously, BM-NPCs differentiated into neuronal cells in a highly selective manner in vitro. We assessed hind limb movements of the animals weekly for 7 weeks to monitor functional recovery after local injection of BM-NPCs to the transected site. To test the sensory recovery, we performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using electrical stimulation of the hind limbs. In the injured spinal cord, transplanted BM-NPCs were confirmed to express neuronal markers 7 weeks following the transplantation. Grafted cells successfully extended neurites beyond the transected portion of the spinal cord. Adjacent localization of synaptophysin and PSD-95 in the transplanted cells suggested synaptic formations. These results indicated survival and successful differentiation of BM-NPCs in the severely injured spinal cord. Importantly, rats that received BM-NPCs demonstrated significant motor recovery when compared to the vehicle injection group. Volumes of the fMRI signals in somatosensory cortex were larger in the BM-NPC-grafted animals. However, neuronal activity was diverse and not confined to the original hind limb territory in the somatosensory cortex. Therefore, reconstruction of neuronal networks was not clearly confirmed. Our results indicated BM-NPCs as an effective method to deliver neuronal lineage cells in a severely injured spinal cord. However, reestablishment of neuronal networks in completed transected spinal cord was still a challenging task.

Keywords: Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs); Cell transplantation; Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Neural progenitor cells (NPCs); Spinal cord injury (SCI)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/096368912X658791

Affiliations: Department of Stem Cell Biology and Histology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

Publication date: 2013-09-11

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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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