Stem cells have been recognized and intensively studied for their potential use in restorative approaches for degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries. In the central nervous system (CNS), stem cell-based strategies have been proposed to replace lost neurons in degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), or to replace lost oligodendrocytes in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Stem cells have also been implicated in repair of the adult spinal cord. An impact to the spinal cord results in immediate damage to tissue including blood vessels, causing loss of neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. In time, more tissue nearby or away from the injury site is lost due to secondary injury. In case of relatively minor damage to the cord some return of function can be observed, but in most cases the neurological loss is permanent. This review will focus on in vitro and in vivo studies on the use of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), a heterogeneous cell population that includes mesenchymal stem cells, for repair of the spinal cord in experimental injury models and their potential for human application. To optimally benefit from BMSCs for repair of the spinal cord it is imperative to develop in vitro techniques that will generate the desired cell type and/or a large enough number for in vivo transplantation approaches. We will also assess the potential and possible pitfalls for use of BMSCs in humans and ongoing clinical trials.
- Bone marrow stromal cell (BMSC)
- Clinical trial
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology