Permanent functional deficit in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) is in part due to severe neural cell death. Therefore, cell replacement using stem cells and neural progenitors that give rise to neurons and glia is thought to be a potent strategy to promote tissue repair after SCI. Many studies have shown that stem cells and neural progenitors can be isolated from embryonic, postnatal and adult spinal cords. Recently, we isolated neural progenitors from newborn rat spinal cords. In general, the neural progenitors grew as spheres in culture, and showed immunoreactivity to a neural progenitor cellular marker, nestin. They were found to proliferate and differentiate into glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astroglia and multiple neuronal populations, including GABAergic and cholinergic neurons. Neurotrophin 3 and neurotrophin 4 enhanced the differentiation of neural progenitors into neurons. Furthermore, the neural progenitors that were transplanted into contusive spinal cords were found to survive and have migrated in the spinal cord rostrally and caudally over 8 mm to the lesion center 7 days after injury. Thus, the neural progenitors isolated from newborn rat spinal cords in combination with neurotrophic factors may provide a tool for cell therapy in SCI patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology
- Biochemistry, medical
- Pharmacology (medical)