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Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cell (EPI-NCSC)-Mediated Recovery of Sensory Function in a Mouse Model of Spinal Cord Injury

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Clewes, Professor Maya Sieber-Blum


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Here we show that epidermal neural crest stem cell (EPI-NCSC) transplants in the contused spinal cord caused a 24% improvement in sensory connectivity and a substantial recovery of touch perception. Furthermore we present a novel method for the ex vivo expansion of EPI-NCSC into millions of stem cells that takes advantage of the migratory ability of neural crest stem cells and is based on a new culture medium and the use of microcarriers. Functional improvement was shown by two independent methods, spinal somatosensory evoked potentials (SpSEP) and the Semmes-Weinstein touch test. Subsets of transplanted cells differentiated into myelinating oligodendrocytes. Unilateral injections of EPI-NCSC into the lesion of midline contused mouse spinal cords elicited bilateral improvements. Intraspinal EPI-NCSC did not migrate laterally in the spinal cord or invade the spinal roots and dorsal root ganglia, thus implicating diffusible factors. EPI-NCSC expressed neurotrophic factors, angiogenic factors, and metalloproteases. The strength of EPI-NCSC thus is that they can exert a combination of pertinent functions in the contused spinal cord, including cell replacement, neuroprotection, angiogenesis and modulation of scar formation. EPI-NCSC are uniquely qualified for cell-based therapy in spinal cord injury, as neural crest cells and neural tube stem cells share a higher order stem cell and are thus ontologically closely related.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hu YF, Gourab K, Wells C, Clewes O, Schmit BD, Sieber-Blum M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

Year: 2010

Volume: 6

Issue: 2

Pages: 186-198

Print publication date: 01/06/2010

ISSN (print): 1550-8943

ISSN (electronic): 1558-6804

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s12015-010-9152-3


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