Transplanted embryonic stem cells survive, differentiate and promote recovery in injured rat spinal cord

Nat Med. 1999 Dec;5(12):1410-2. doi: 10.1038/70986.


Transplantation approaches using cellular bridges, fetal central nervous system cells, fibroblasts expressing neurotrophin-3 (ref. 6), hybridoma cells expressing inhibitory protein-blocking antibodies, or olfactory nerves ensheathing glial cells transplanted into the acutely injured spinal cord have produced axonal regrowth or functional benefits. Transplants of rat or cat fetal spinal cord tissue into the chronically injured cord survive and integrate with the host cord, and may be associated with some functional improvements. In addition, rats transplanted with fetal spinal cord cells have shown improvements in some gait parameters, and the delayed transplantation of fetal raphe cells can enhance reflexes. We transplanted neural differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells into a rat spinal cord 9 days after traumatic injury. Histological analysis 2-5 weeks later showed that transplant-derived cells survived and differentiated into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons, and migrated as far as 8 mm away from the lesion edge. Furthermore, gait analysis demonstrated that transplanted rats showed hindlimb weight support and partial hindlimb coordination not found in 'sham-operated' controls or control rats transplanted with adult mouse neocortical cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Survival
  • Female
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Gait
  • Locomotion
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous