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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2004;22(6):469-76.

Improving recovery of spinal cord-injured rats by telomerase-driven human neural progenitor cells.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics, Peking University Third Hospital, 49 West Garden Road, Beijing, 100083, P.R. China.



Human neural progenitor cells hold great promise for treating a variety of human neurological diseases such as spinal cord injury. One of the issues limiting this technology is how to expand neural progenitor cells in vitro to obtain sufficient number of cells for clinical transplantation. We have established a homogeneous population of human neural progenitor cells (hNPC-TERT) immortalized by the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene. Then we studied whether these cells could differentiate into neural cells in vivo and improve the recovery of spinal cord-injured rats.


The hNPC-TERT cells had been transplanted into the injured spinal cord and the functional recovery of the rats with spinal cord contusion injury was evaluated through BBB locomotor scale and Motor Evoked Potentials. Additionally, the differentiation of hNPC-TERT cells was shown by immunocytochemistry.


As revealed by this animal model, hNPC-TERT cells developed into functional cells in the injured spinal cord and improved recovery from spinal cord injury in both locomotor scores and electrophysiological parameter in this animal model.


This study is the first demonstration of the use of telomerase-driven human progenitor cells to treat spinal cord injury and should provide a new cell source for research of clinical application.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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