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Keywords:

  • Stem cell transplantation;
  • Tissue regeneration;
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • Embryonic stem cells;
  • Spinal cord injury

Abstract

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in neural loss and consequently motor and sensory impairment below the injury. There are currently no effective therapies for the treatment of traumatic SCI in humans. Different kinds of cells including embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cells have been transplanted into animal models of SCI resulting in sensorimotor benefits. Transplantation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)- or induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neural cells is nowadays a promising therapy for SCI. This review updates the recent progress in preclinical studies and discusses the advantages and flaws of various neural cell types derived from hESCs and hiPSCs. Before introducing the stem cell replacement strategies in clinical practice, this complex field needs to advance significantly in understanding the lesion itself, the animal model adequacy, and improve cell replacement source. This knowledge will contribute to the successful translation from animals to humans and lead to established guidelines for rigorous safety screening in order to be implemented in clinical practice. Stem Cells2012;30:1787–1792