Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Reduces Glial Cyst and Improves Functional Outcome After Spinal Cord Compression

Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi, Neuroscience Institute of Turin, University of Turin, Italy. Electronic address: .
World Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 2.42). 09/2012; 81(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2012.08.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that play a supportive role in regenerative therapies, especially in the CNS where spontaneous regeneration is limited. MSCs can exert a paracrine activity and modulate the inflammatory response after a CNS injury, Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to permanent neurological deficits below the injury site, due to neuronal and axonal damage. Among the experimental treatments following SCI, cell transplantation emerged as a promising approach. METHODS: We used a compression injury model in the mouse spinal cord and we acutely transplanted MSCs into the lesion cavity; injured mice without the graft served as controls. After 26 days we investigated the survival of MSCs and evaluated their effect on the formation of the glial cyst and on injury-related inflammation. RESULTS: Grafted MSCs remained permanently undifferentiated. In MSC-treated mice the lesion volume was reduced by 31.6%, compared to control mice, despite astroglial and microglial activation was not altered by graft. Moreover sensory and motor tests demonstrated that MSC cell therapy results in improvement on a battery of behavioural tests, in comparison to control mice: in detail, MSC-treated mice vs control ones respectively registered the score 0.00 vs 0.50 in the posture test, 0.00 vs 1.50 in the hindlimb flexion test, 3.00 vs 2.25 in the sensory test, and finally 7.50 mistakes vs 15.83, respectively, in the foot-fault test. CONCLUSION: Our results underscore the therapeutic potential of MSCs, making them promising candidates for CNS pathologies.