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J Neurosci Res. 2012 Mar;90(3):619-31. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22789. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Transplant-mediated repair properties of rat olfactory mucosal OM-I and OM-II sphere-forming cells.

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Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Olfactory mucosa is a source of cells for transplant-mediated repair of spinal cord injury (SCI) and is currently being assessed in clinical trials. We previously reported that olfactory mucosa can generate two types of sphere-forming cells with stem cell-like properties. Here we have assessed the repair potential of these cells in a rodent SCI model. Sphere-forming cells transplanted into a dorsal column injury integrated with the host spinal cord, filling the injury cavity, but showed no evidence of differentiation in vivo. Moreover, transplants supported robust axonal regeneration, particularly when suspensions of smaller spheres, rather than large aggregates, were transplanted. However, tract-tracing of dorsal column fibers showed that regenerating axons did not extend beyond the transplant. These observations show that undifferentiated olfactory spheres, though capable of supporting axonal regeneration, do not show any advantage over olfactory ensheathing cells isolated from adult olfactory tissue. In addition, olfactory spheres induced a greater astrocytic hypertrophy at the injury site than previously observed for purified olfactory ensheathing cells.

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