Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Neurol. 1997 Dec;148(2):433-43.

Activated macrophage/microglial cells can promote the regeneration of sensory axons into the injured spinal cord.

Author information

Department of Anatomy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.


A prominent role for phagocytic cells in the regenerative response to CNS or PNS injury has been suggested by numerous studies. In the present work we tested whether increasing the presence of phagocytic cells at a spinal cord injury site could enhance the regeneration of sensory axons from cut dorsal roots. Nitrocellulose membranes treated with TGF-beta or coated with microglial cells were cotransplanted with fetal spinal cord tissue into an injured adult rat spinal cord. Cut dorsal roots were apposed to both sides of the nitrocellulose. Four weeks later, animals were sacrificed and spinal cord tissue sections were processed for immunocytochemical detection of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP-ir) to identify regenerated sensory axons. Adjacent sections were processed with the antibody ED-1 or the lectin GSA-B4 for detection of macrophage/microglial cells in association with the regrowing axons. Qualitative and quantitative data indicate a correlation between the pattern and extent of axonal regeneration and the presence of phagocytic cells along the nitrocellulose implant. Axonal regeneration could be experimentally limited by implanting a nitrocellulose strip treated with macrophage inhibitory factor. These results indicate that increasing the presence of activated macrophage/microglial cells at a spinal cord injury site can provide an environment beneficial to the promotion of regeneration of sensory axons, possibly by the release of cytokines and interaction with other nonneuronal cells in the immediate vicinity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center