Basic fibroblast growth factor promotes neuronal survival but not behavioral recovery in the transected and Schwann cell implanted rat thoracic spinal cord

Matthijs F.L. Meijs, Leonardus Timmers, Damien D. Pearse, Patrick A. Tresco, Margaret L. Bates, Elbert A.J. Joosten, Mary Bartlett Bunge, Martin Oudega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

It was investigated whether the addition of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) enhances the efficacy of a Schwann cell (SC) bridge to repair the transected spinal cord by assessing tissue sparing and neuronal survival near the graft-cord interfaces, axonal regeneration and myelination in the graft, and behavioral recovery up to 12 weeks post-grafting. Experimental animals received a bridge of SCs within fibrin containing 1 μg of FGF-2; control animals received a SC implant without FGF-2. Sparing of tissue in a 2.5-mm-long segment near the graft-cord borders was 69% in the rostral and 52% in the caudal cord at 6 weeks post-grafting, not significantly different from the control group. With FGF-2, survival of NeuN-positive cells was increased in the rostral cord: 24.4%, 20.4%, and 17.2% of the number of positive cells in the uninjured cord compared to 13.5%, 9.1%, and 8.9% in controls at 3, 6, and 12 weeks post-grafting, respectively. Similarly, in the caudal cord, survival of NeuN-positive cells was increased with FGF-2: 19.3%, 16.8%, and 14.5% compared to 10.8%, 5.6%, and 6.1% in controls. The staining intensity of glial fibrillary acidic protein was significantly higher at the interfaces of both cord stumps at 3 weeks with SC/FGF-2 grafts; chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CS-56) staining was more intense in the rostral cord but only at 6 weeks. Blood vessels in the FGF-2 grafts were larger and less regular in shape than those in control grafts. Axonal growth into the bridge was not improved by the addition of FGF-2. Retrogradely traced neurons were not found rostral to the implant, indicating that axons had not grown a few mm into the caudal spinal tissue. Recovery of hind limb function was similar in both groups. Despite the neuroprotective effects of FGF-2, improved effects on axonal regeneration and functional recovery were not observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1415-1430
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

Keywords

  • Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan
  • CNS
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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