In vertebrates that regenerate the injured spinal cord, cells at the ependymal region proliferate and coordinate the formation of bridges between the lesion stumps. In mammals, these cells also proliferate profusely around the central canal after spinal cord injury, although their actual contribution to repair is controversial. In humans, however, the central canal disappears from early childhood in the majority of individuals, being replaced by astrocyte gliosis, ependymocyte clusters, and perivascular pseudo-rosettes. In this human ependymal remnant, cells do not proliferate under normal conditions, but it is not known if they do after a lesion. Here, we studied the human ependymal remnant after traumatic spinal cord injury using samples from 21 individuals with survival times ranging from days to months post-injury. With three different monoclonal antibodies raised against two different proliferation markers (Ki67 and MCM2), we found that the ependymal remnant in adult humans does not proliferate after injury at any time or distance from the lesion. Our results seriously challenge the view of the spinal cord ependymal region as a neurogenic niche in adult humans and suggest that it would not be involved in cell replacement after a lesion.
- neural stem cells
- spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine