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Neuron. 2000 Feb;25(2):425-35.

Functional recovery of paraplegic rats and motor axon regeneration in their spinal cords by olfactory ensheathing glia.

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Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, Spain.


Axonal regeneration in the lesioned mammalian central nervous system is abortive, and this causes permanent disabilities in individuals with spinal cord injuries. In adult rats, olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) transplants successfully led to functional and structural recovery after complete spinal cord transection. From 3 to 7 months post surgery, all OEG-transplanted animals recovered locomotor functions and sensorimotor reflexes. They presented voluntary hindlimb movements, they supported their body weight, and their hindlimbs responded to light skin contact and proprioceptive stimuli. In addition, relevant motor axons (corticospinal, raphespinal, and coeruleospinal) regenerated for long distances within caudal cord stumps. Therefore, OEG transplantation provides a useful repair strategy in adult mammals with traumatic spinal cord injuries. Our results with these cells could lead to new therapies for the treatment of spinal cord lesions in humans.

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