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Nat Med. 2016 May;22(5):479-87. doi: 10.1038/nm.4066. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Spinal cord reconstitution with homologous neural grafts enables robust corticospinal regeneration.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
2
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
3
Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA.
4
Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
5
Department of Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
6
Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Abstract

The corticospinal tract (CST) is the most important motor system in humans, yet robust regeneration of this projection after spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been accomplished. In murine models of SCI, we report robust corticospinal axon regeneration, functional synapse formation and improved skilled forelimb function after grafting multipotent neural progenitor cells into sites of SCI. Corticospinal regeneration requires grafts to be driven toward caudalized (spinal cord), rather than rostralized, fates. Fully mature caudalized neural grafts also support corticospinal regeneration. Moreover, corticospinal axons can emerge from neural grafts and regenerate beyond the lesion, a process that is potentially related to the attenuation of the glial scar. Rat corticospinal axons also regenerate into human donor grafts of caudal spinal cord identity. Collectively, these findings indicate that spinal cord 'replacement' with homologous neural stem cells enables robust regeneration of the corticospinal projection within and beyond spinal cord lesion sites, achieving a major unmet goal of SCI research and offering new possibilities for clinical translation.

PMID:
27019328
PMCID:
PMC4860037
DOI:
10.1038/nm.4066
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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