Stem cell transplantation and combined rehabilitation enhance spinal cord injury outcomes

Stem cell transplantation and combined rehabilitation enhance spinal cord injury outcomes

A color scanning electron microscope image showing a human neuron cultured with dendrites and axons. Image provider: Thomas Deerinck, UC San Diego

In recent years, researchers have made measurable progress, using animal models, to promote tissue regeneration in spinal cord injury (SCI) through transplantation. or transplanted neural stem cells. Other efforts have shown that intensive physical rehabilitation can improve function after SCI by promoting larger or new roles for undamaged or undamaged neural cells and circuits love.

In a new paper, published August 22, 2022 in the journal JCI Insight, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine tackle the question of whether rehabilitation may increase functional outcomes when combined with supportive regenerative therapies, such as stem cell transplantation.

Use one mouse model, the researchers induced a cervical lesion that impaired the animals’ ability to grip with their forelimbs. There are four groups: animals experiencing trauma alone; animals receive subsequent neural stem cell transplants designed to grow and connect with existing nerves; animals are only rehabilitated; and animals that received stem cell therapy and rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation therapy for some animals began one month after the initial injury, an approximate timeline when most patient admitted to SCI’s rehabilitation centers. Recovery included daily activities and reward them with food pellets if they perform the grasping skill.

The researchers found that rehabilitation enhanced regeneration of injured spinal cord axons at the site of injury in mice, and that the combination of rehabilitation and transplantation produced remarkable recovery. reported in forearm grip when both treatments occurred one month after injury.

First author Paul Lu, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience, said: “These new findings indicate that rehabilitation plays an extremely important role in enhancing recovery. function when combined with a regenerative supportive therapy, such as a neural stem cell transplant. at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a health science research fellow at the San Diego Health Care System Veterans Administration.

“Indeed, we found the surprising benefit of intensive physical recovery when used as a daily regimen significantly exceeds what humans are currently provided with after SCI.”

Senior author Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and director of the Institute of Translational Neuroscience at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues have long worked to solve the problem. address the complex challenges of SCI repair and rehabilitation.

For example, in 2020 they reported on the observed benefits of neural stem cell transplantation in mice, and in 2019 described a 3D-printed implanted scaffold that would promote cell growth. nerve cells.

Spinal cord injury remains an unsolved medical challenge. Nearly 18,000 people in the United States have SCI each year, with another 294,000 living with SCI, often associated with some degree of permanent paralysis or impaired physical function, such as bladder control or shortness of breath.

“There is a great unmet need to improve regenerative therapies after SCI,” says Tuszynski. “We hope that our findings point to a path to a new potential combination treatment that includes neural stem cell transplantation plus rehabilitation, a strategy that we hope hope to switch to clinical trials on humans in the next two years. ”

Transplanted neural stem cell transplantation shows function in spinal cord injury

More information:
Paul Lu et al., Rehabilitation combined with neural progenitor cell transplantation enables rehabilitation in chronic spinal cord injury, JCI Insight (In 2022). DOI: 10.1172 / jci.insight.158000

Quote: Stem cell transplantation and combined rehabilitation enhance spinal cord injury outcomes (2022, October 28) retrieved October 29, 2022 from 10-stem-cell-grafts-combined-boost.html

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