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Open Access Cotransplantation of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells and Schwann Cells Combined With Treadmill Training Promotes Functional Recovery in Rats With Contused Spinal Cords

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The present study investigated the ability of cotransplantation of Schwann cells (SCs) and olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) combined with treadmill training in facilitating neuronal plasticity and promoting hindlimb function recovery of subacute moderate thoracic (T10) spinal cord contusion in rats. Two weeks postinjury, SCs were injected directly into the lesion, while OECs were injected into the adjacent tissues. The treadmill training with the rats began postinjury on day 7, with each session lasting 20 ± 10 min per day, 5 days per week, for 10 weeks. At the 11th week postinjury, OECs were found migrating longitudinally and laterally from the injection site to the injury site through the gray and white matter, while some traveled along the central canal or pia. The SCs remained densely packed and concentrated at the transplant site. The transplanted SCs supported ingrowth of numerous, densely populated neurofilament-positive (NF+), MBP+ axons. The OECs promoted elongation of moderate NF+, GAP-43+ axons and a few MBP+ axons in parallel with OEC processes. The GFAP immunoreactivity in the spared tissue surrounding the graft of SCs and OECs at the lesion site was less intense than that in the DMEM group. Treadmill training had no effect on GFAP immunoreactivity. Treadmill training increased the number of TH-immunoreactive neurons in the gray matter of L2 spinal cord. Moreover, cotransplantation of OECs and SCs significantly increased the BBB score during 5‐8 weeks postinjury alongside treadmill training between 5 and 11 weeks. Cotransplantation of OECs and SCs combined with treadmill training resulted in the highest BBB score at 4 and 11 weeks. The study details the differential mechanisms of neuronal plasticity: (1) axon growth and remyelination induced by cotransplantation of OECs and SCs and (2) neuron plasticity below the lesion enhanced by treadmill training. The synergistic effects of the combined strategy enhance functional recovery. This manuscript is published as part of the International Association of Neurorestoratology (IANR) supplement issue of Cell Transplantation.

Keywords: Functional recovery; Neuronal plasticity; Olfactory ensheathing cell and Schwann cell cotransplantation; Spinal cord contusion; Treadmill training

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 17, 2013

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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