Stem/progenitor cells derived from the ependymal region of the spinal cord have the ability to self-renew and are multipotential for neurons and glia. These cells may have the ability to regenerate the injured mammalian spinal cord as they do in some lower vertebrates. However, the optimal conditions for transplantation and the fate of transplanted cells are not fully known. In the current study, spinal cord stem/progenitor cells were cultured from adult male rats expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). Neurospheres were transplanted at the time of clip compression injury (35-g force) into the injury site, or 1 mm rostral and caudal to the injury site. Neurospheres were also transplanted into a subacute model (day 9 after injury) and a chronic model (day 28 after injury). Functional recovery was also studied in an acute injury model with weekly locomotor testing over a 16-week period. A significant increase in cell survival at 7 days was seen in rats receiving rostral and caudal injections as compared to injection directly into the site of injury. A significant increase in cell survival was also seen in rats receiving subacute transplants at 9 days after injury. Transplanted cells differentiated primarily into astrocytes (31.2%) and oligodendrocytes (50.3%), and a small number of neurons (1%). No improvement was seen in the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor rating scale after acute transplantation as compared with injury only, although surviving transplanted cells were identified that had migrated across the injury site from the rostral and caudal injection sites.
- Neural stem/progenitor cells
- Spinal cord injury