Author(s): Hodgetts SI, Simmons PJ, Plant GW
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Abstract 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.
This article was published in Cell Transplant
and referenced in Advances in Robotics & Automation