Xenografts of expanded primate olfactory ensheathing glia support transient behavioral recovery that is independent of serotonergic or corticospinal axonal regeneration in nude rats following spinal cord transection

J. D. Guest, L. Herrera, I. Margitich, M. Oliveria, A. Marcillo, C. E. Casas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transplantation of olfactory ensheathing glial cells (OEG) may improve the outcome from spinal cord injury. Proof-of-principle studies in primates are desirable and the feasibility and efficacy of using in vitro expanded OEG should be tested. An intermediate step between the validation of rodent studies and human clinical trials is to study expanded primate OEG (POEG) xenografts in immunotolerant rodents. In this study the time course to generate purified POEG was evaluated as well as their survival, effect on damaged axons of the corticospinal and serotonergic systems, tissue sparing, and chronic locomotor recovery following transplantation. Fifty-seven nude rats underwent T9/10 spinal cord transection. Thirty-eight rats received POEG, 19 controls were injected with cell medium, and 10 received lentivirally-GFP-transfected POEG. Histological evaluation was conducted at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 14 weeks and 23-24 weeks. Of these 57 rats, 18 were studied with 5-HT immunostaining, 16 with BDA anterograde CST labeling, and six were used for transmission electron microscopy. In grafted animals, behavioral recovery, sprouting and limited regeneration of 5-HT fibers, and increased numbers of proximal collateral processes but not regeneration of CST fibers was observed. Grafted animals had less cavitation in the spinal cord stumps than controls. Behavioral recovery peaked at three months and then declined. Five POEG-transplanted animals that had shown behavioral recovery underwent retransection and behavioral scores did not change significantly, suggesting that long tract axonal regeneration did not account for the locomotor improvement. At the ultrastructural level presumptive POEG were found to have direct contacts with astrocytes forming the glia limitans, distinct from those formed by Schwann cells. At 6 weeks GFP expression was detected in cells within the lesion site and within nerve roots but did not match the pattern of Hoechst nuclear labeling. At 3.5 months only GFP-positive debris in macrophages could be detected. Transplanted POEG support behavioral recovery via mechanisms that appear to be independent of long tract regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental neurology
Volume212
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Keywords

  • Axonal regeneration
  • Corticospinal
  • Olfactory ensheathing glia
  • Serotonergic
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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