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Chronic transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells promotes partial recovery after complete spinal cord transection in the rat

Authors

  • Rubèn López-Vales,

    1. Group of Neuroplasticity and Regeneration, Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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  • Joaquim Forés,

    1. Group of Neuroplasticity and Regeneration, Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
    2. Hand and Peripheral Nerve Unit, Hospital Clínic i Provincial, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Xavier Navarro,

    1. Group of Neuroplasticity and Regeneration, Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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  • Enrique Verdú

    Corresponding author
    1. Group of Neuroplasticity and Regeneration, Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
    • Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Unitat de Fisiologia Mèdica, Edif. M, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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Abstract

The goal of this study was to ascertain whether olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) were able to promote axonal regeneration and functional recovery when transplanted 45 days after complete transection of the thoracic spinal cord in adult rats. OECs promoted partial restitution of supraspinal pathways evaluated by motor evoked potentials and modest recovery of hindlimb movements. In addition, OEC grafts reduced lumbar reflex hyperexcitability from the first month after transplantation. Histological results revealed that OECs facilitated corticospinal and raphespinal axons regrowth through the injury site and into the caudal spinal cord segments. Interestingly, raphespinal but not corticospinal fibers regenerated long distances through the gray matter and reached the lower lumbar segments (L5) of the spinal cord. However, delayed OEC grafts failed to reduce posttraumatic astrogliosis. In conclusion, the beneficial effects found in the present study further support the use of OECs for treating chronic spinal cord injuries. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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