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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2002 Oct;40(1-3):292-300.

Transplantation of genetically modified cells contributes to repair and recovery from spinal injury.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine, 2900 Queen Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA.


The effects of transplantation of fibroblasts genetically modified to produce brain derived neurotrophin factor (Fb/BDNF) on rescue of axotomized neurons, axonal growth and recovery of function was tested in a lateral funiculus lesion model in adult rats. Operated control animals included those in which the lesion was filled with gelfoam implant (Hx) and those in which the cavity was filled with unmodified fibroblasts (Fb). Both Fb/BDNF and Fb transplants survived and filled the lesion site. Unoperated control groups showed a marked retrograde death of Red nucleus neurons contralateral to the lesion; Fb/BDNF recipients showed a significant rescue effect. Anterograde and retrograde labeling studies indicated no regeneration of rubrospinal axons into the lesion/transplant in operated control animals, but regeneration into, around, and through the transplant into the host was seen in the Fb/BDNF recipients. All animals showed deficits on the more challenging behavioral tests but the Fb/BDNF recipients showed fewer deficits, particularly in tests of spontaneous vertical exploration, horizontal rope crossing and a sensory test (patch removal). The improved function on these tests in the Fb/BDNF recipients was abolished by a second lateral funiculus lesion rostral to the transport site. These results indicate that delivery of neurotrophic factors by grafting genetically modified cells can improve repair and function after spinal injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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