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Stem Cells Dev. 2014 Apr 15;23(8):910-21. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0426. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Graft of a tissue-engineered neural scaffold serves as a promising strategy to restore myelination after rat spinal cord transection.

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1 Key Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, Ministry of Education, Sun Yat-sen University , Guangzhou, China .


Remyelination remains a challenging issue in spinal cord injury (SCI). In the present study, we cocultured Schwann cells (SCs) and neural stem cells (NSCs) with overexpression of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and its high affinity receptor tyrosine kinase receptor type 3 (TrkC), respectively, in a gelatin sponge (GS) scaffold. This was aimed to generate a tissue-engineered neural scaffold and to investigate whether it could enhance myelination after a complete T10 spinal cord transection in adult rats. Indeed, many NT-3 overexpressing SCs (NT-3-SCs) in the GS scaffold assumed the formation of myelin. More strikingly, a higher incidence of NSCs overexpressing TrkC differentiating toward myelinating cells was induced by NT-3-SCs. By transmission electron microscopy, the myelin sheath showed distinct multilayered lamellae formed by the seeded cells. Eighth week after the scaffold was transplanted, some myelin basic protein (MBP)-positive processes were observed within the transplantation area. Remarkably, certain segments of myelin derived from NSC-derived myelinating cells and NT-3-SCs were found to ensheath axons. In conclusion, we show here that transplantation of the GS scaffold promotes exogenous NSC-derived myelinating cells and SCs to form myelins in the injury/transplantation area of spinal cord. These findings thus provide a neurohistological basis for the future application or transplantation using GS neural scaffold to repair SCI.

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