Autologous olfactory [corrected] mucosal transplant in chronic spinal cord injury: an Indian Pilot Study

Spinal Cord. 2009 Dec;47(12):887-95. doi: 10.1038/sc.2009.54. Epub 2009 Jun 2.


Study design: Prospective Pilot Study.

Objectives: To determine the safety and feasibility of autologous olfactory mucosal transplantation into the spinal cord in chronic spinal cord injured using the technique developed by Carlos Lima et al.

Setting: Spinal Injury Center, New Delhi.

Methods: Five chronic, motor complete, traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with neurological level C5-T12 underwent the procedure. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6 monthly intervals. Safety and tolerability were evaluated through monitoring for any adverse events and tests including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation. Efficacy assessment was done through neurological, functional and psychological evaluation, electrophysiological studies and urodynamics.

Results: Surgery was tolerated well by all American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) A participants. The only AIS B participant lost sensory scores significantly after surgery but is gradually regaining it. MRI evaluation revealed a syrinx in one participant and increase in length of myelomalacia in four participants. There were no other adverse findings on MRI evaluation. There was no significant improvement in any of the neurological, electrophysiological or urodynamic efficacy variables. Statistically significant improvement was seen in functional scores as evaluated by Spinal Cord Independence Measure, Beck Depression Inventory scores and life impact scores on International Spinal Cord Injury Scale.

Conclusions: The procedure is relatively safe and feasible in AIS A participants with thoracic level injuries at 18 month follow-up. No efficacy could be demonstrated which could be attributed to the procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • India
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Neuroglia / transplantation
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / cytology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / transplantation*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Paralysis / etiology
  • Paralysis / surgery
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology
  • Sensation Disorders / surgery
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord / surgery*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / surgery*
  • Syringomyelia / etiology
  • Syringomyelia / pathology
  • Tissue Transplantation / methods*
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult