Transplanted adult spinal cord-derived neural stem/progenitor cells promote early functional recovery after rat spinal cord injury

A. M. Parr, I. Kulbatski, T. Zahir, X. Wang, C. Yue, A. Keating, C. H. Tator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


We examined the effect of spinal cord-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) after delayed transplantation into the injured adult rat spinal cord with or without earlier transplantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs). Either BMSCs or culture medium were transplanted immediately after clip compression injury (27 g force), and then, 9 days after injury, NSPCs or culture medium were transplanted. Cell survival and differentiation, functional recovery, retrograde axonal tracing, and immunoelectron microscopy were assessed. A significant improvement in functional recovery based on three different measures was seen only in the group receiving NSPCs without BMSCs, and the improved recovery was evident within 1 week of transplantation. In this group, NSPCs differentiated mainly into oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, there was ensheathing of axons at the injury site by transplanted NSPCs, an increase in host oligodendrocytes, and a trend toward an increase in retrogradely labeled supraspinal nuclei. Transplantation of the BMSC scaffold resulted in a trend toward improved survival of the NSPCs, but there was no increase in function. Thus, transplantation of adult rat NSPCs produced significant early functional improvement after spinal cord injury, suggesting an early neuroprotective action associated with oligodendrocyte survival and axonal ensheathment by transplanted NSPCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-770
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 26 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Technical support provided by Rita van Bendegem and Linda Lee. Assistance with microscopy provided by Sheer Ramjohn and Dr. Patrick Shannon of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Toronto. Funding provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the International Foundation of Research in Paraplegia, and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.


  • axonal ensheathment
  • bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells
  • neuroprotection


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