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, 161 (1), 27-37

Tanycytes Transplanted Into the Adult Rat Spinal Cord Support the Regeneration of Lesioned Axons

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Tanycytes Transplanted Into the Adult Rat Spinal Cord Support the Regeneration of Lesioned Axons

M Prieto et al. Exp Neurol.

Abstract

During past years a number of therapeutic strategies have been developed in order to stimulate axonal regeneration after traumatic injuries of the spinal cord. Recently, encouraging data have been obtained by grafting specific glial cells such as Schwann cells or olfactory ensheathing glial cells, known to support the regeneration of peripheral or central axons, respectively. In a recent series of studies, we have shown that tanycytes, a particular glial cell type present in the mediobasal hypothalamus, were able to support the regeneration of a variety of axons innervating this region. The aim of the present study was to determine whether tanycytes could also support the regeneration of lesioned spinal axons. Cultured hypothalamic tanycytes and cortical astrocytes were prelabeled with Fast blue (FB) and grafted into the thoracic spinal cord of adult rats. Three weeks after the transplantation, the animals were fixed and spinal cord sections treated for multiple fluorescence detection of the FB-labeled transplanted cells on the one hand and of various glial and neuronal markers on the other hand. We show here that in all the spinal cords examined, transplanted tanycytes or astrocytes formed large spherical clusters of about 0.5 mm in diameter, located in the mediolateral spinal cord layer. The immunodetection of glial markers showed that transplanted astrocytes exhibited intense immunostaining for both glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin (VIM), whereas transplanted tanycytes were intensely immunostained for VIM, but GFAP negative. The immunodetection of axonal markers showed that contrasting with astrocyte transplants, tanycyte transplants were invaded by numerous axonal fibers. These data indicate that tanycyte transplants may represent a useful therapeutic tool for the reparation of the lesioned spinal axons.

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