Electro-Medicine : Biological Physics - Paralysis Spinal Chord Injury Treatment


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Uploaded by on Jun 16, 2011

Transplanted adult stem cells have been found to reverse paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in lab rats, a new study finds.

The study, headed up by Miodrag Stojkovic, deputy director and head of the Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory at Centro de Investigacion Principe Felipe in Spain, involved transplanting so-called progenitor stem cells from the lining of rats' spinal cords into rodents with serious spinal cord injuries.

The rats recovered significant motor activity one week after injury, Stojkovic and his co-authors wrote in the Jan. 27 early online edition of the journal Stem Cells.

Cells proliferated

The newly transplanted progenitor cells, which had been taken from the injured rats after spinal cord injury, were found to proliferate and were recruited by the specific injured area, Stojkovic said. The transplanted cells regenerated 10 times faster while in the transplant subject than similar cells derived from healthy control animals.

The trauma associated with spinal cord injury destroys numerous cell types, including the neurons that carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. In many spinal injuries, the cord is not actually severed, and at least some of the signal-carrying nerve cells remain intact. However, the surviving nerve cells may no longer carry messages because oligodendrocytes, which comprise the insulating sheath of the spinal cord, are lost.

The regenerative mechanism discovered was activated when a lesion formed in the injured area. After a lesion formed in the transplant subject, the stem cells were found to have a more effective ability to differentiate into oligodendrocytes and other cell types needed to restore neuronal function.

"This answers one question: is the adult organism capable of regenerating neurological dysfunction following injury? Our present experimental data strongly support that this is the case: the spinal cord contains functional regenerative machinery," Stojkovic told LiveScience.

Previous attempts to transplant stem cells to reverse paralysis were based on spinal cord-derived stem cells from either fetal or healthy adult donors. These efforts reported only modest or no significant functional improvement soon after transplantation, Stojkovic said.


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