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Regen Med. 2006 Jul;1(4):469-79.

Transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors into rat spinal cord injuries does not cause harm.

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  • 1University of California at Irvine, Reeve-Irvine Research Center, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, 2111 Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility, Irvine, CA 92697-4292, USA.

Abstract

Demyelination contributes to loss of function following spinal cord injury. We have shown previously that transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors into adult rat 200 kD contusive spinal cord injury sites enhances remyelination and promotes recovery of motor function. Previous studies using oligodendrocyte lineage cells have noted a correlation between the presence of demyelinating pathology and the survival and migration rate of the transplanted cells. The present study compared the survival and migration of human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors injected 7 days after a 200 or 50 kD contusive spinal cord injury, as well as the locomotor outcome of transplantation. Our findings indicate that a 200 kD spinal cord injury induces extensive demyelination, whereas a 50 kD spinal cord injury induces no detectable demyelination. Cells transplanted into the 200 kD injury group survived, migrated, and resulted in robust remyelination, replicating our previous studies. In contrast, cells transplanted into the 50 kD injury group survived, exhibited limited migration, and failed to induce remyelination as demyelination in this injury group was absent. Animals that received a 50 kD injury displayed only a transient decline in locomotor function as a result of the injury. Importantly, human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor transplants into the 50 kD injury group did not cause a further decline in locomotion. Our studies highlight the importance of a demyelinating pathology as a prerequisite for the function of transplanted myelinogenic cells. In addition, our results indicate that transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells into the injured spinal cord is not associated with a decline in locomotor function.

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