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Blood. 2000 Sep 15;96(6):2081-3.

Depressed immunity and impaired proliferation of hematopoietic progenitor cells in patients with complete spinal cord injury.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


The bone marrow is supplied with both sensory and autonomic neurons, but their roles in regulating hematopoietic and immunocompetent cells are unknown. Leukocyte growth and activity in patients with stable and complete spinal cord injuries were studied. The innervation of the bone marrow below the injury level lacked normal supraspinal activity, that is, a decentralized bone marrow. Lymphocyte functions were markedly decreased in injured patients. Long-term colony formation of all hematopoietic cell lineages, including dendritic cells, by decentralized bone marrow cells was substantially reduced. It was concluded that nonspecific and adaptive lymphocyte-mediated immunity and growth of early hematopoietic progenitor cells are impaired in patients with spinal cord injuries. Possibly, this reflects cellular defects caused by the malfunctioning neuronal regulation of immune and bone marrow function.

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