Tampa, Fla. (April. 17, 2012) Combined, complimentary therapies have the ability to maximize the benefits of neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation for spinal cord repair in rat models, according to a study carried out by a team of Korean researchers who published in a recent issue of Cell Transplantation (20:9), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/.
"When transplanted, neural stem cells have demonstrated their therapeutic potential to reverse complex pathological processes following spinal cord injury," said study corresponding author Dr. Byung G. Kim of the Ajou University School of Medicine's Brain Disease Research Center and Department of Neurology, Republic of Korea. "However, many obstacles cannot be overcome by NSC transplant alone."
Their study demonstrated that a combination of treatment strategies - a polymer scaffold, neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and chondroitinase (an enzyme which helps digest the glial scar that formed after a spinal cord injury) - provided added therapeutic benefits to NSC transplantation. The implantation of a polymer scaffold designed to bridge lesion cavities, created a favorable tissue environment for nerve growth. Incorporating the NT3 gene into the transplanted cells improved cell survival and migration while the addition of chondroitinase positively affected neural activity between the scaffold and the spinal cord.
"The poly (ε-caprolactone) [PCL] scaffold in our study appeared to function like a reservoir supplying migratory NSCs to the spinal cord," said Dr. Kim. "The NSCs grafted with the scaffolds survived the transplantation and migrated to the host spinal cord."
The study included four animal groups, only one of which received the full combination of therapies. Rats in the full combination therapy group were found to have some restored neuroplasticity and enhanced remyelation of contralateral white
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Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair