Spinal cord injury (SCI) induces permanent loss of sensitive and motor functions below the injury level. To date, a wide variety of cells has been used as biotherapies to cure SCI in different animal paradigms. Specifically, olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) is one of the most promising. Indeed, OECs have been shown to enhance recovery in many animal studies. Moreover, OECs transplantation has been applied to a paraplegic patient and have shown beneficial effects. However, it has been reported that the significant level of recovery varies among different patients. Therefore, it is of primary importance to enhance the regenerative efficiency of OECs for better translations. Recently, it has been shown that inhibiting ADAMTS4 expression in glial cells in vitro increases their synthesis of neurotrophic factors. We hypothesized that the expression of neurotrophic factors secreted by OECs can be increased by the deletion of ADAMTS4. Taking advantage of ADAMTS4-/- mouse line, we produce ADAMTS4 deficient primary OEC cultures and then we investigated their regenerative potential after SCI. By using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, bioluminescence imaging, measurement of locomotor activity, electrophysiological studies, and immunohistochemistry, our results show that ADAMTS4-/- olfactory bulb OEC (bOECs) primary cultures upregulate their trophic factor expression in vitro, and that the transplantation of ADAMTS4-/- bOECs in a severe SCI model increases functional recovery and tissue repair in vivo. Altogether, our study reveals, for the first time, that primary bOEC cultures transplantation can be potentialized by inhibition of the expression of ADAMTS4.
Keywords: ADAMTS4; functional recovery; olfactory ensheathing cells; spinal cord injury; transplantation.