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J Neurosci. 2003 Feb 1;23(3):727-31.

Transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells into spinal cord lesions restores breathing and climbing.

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Norman and Sadie Lee Research Centre, Division of Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Medical Research Council, London NW7 1AA, United Kingdom.


One of the most devastating effects of damage to the upper spinal cord is the loss of the ability to breathe; patients suffering these injuries can be kept alive only with assisted ventilation. No known method for repairing these injuries exists. We report here the return of supraspinal control of breathing and major improvements in climbing after the application of a novel endogenous matrix transfer method. This method permits efficient transfer and retention of cultured adult rat olfactory ensheathing cells when transplanted into large lesions that destroy all tracts on one side at the upper cervical level of the adult rat spinal cord. This demonstrates that transplantation can produce simultaneous repair of two independent spinal functions.

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