World neurosurgery

Grafted Activated Schwann Cells Support Survival of Injured Rat Spinal Cord White Matter.

PMID 25910924


The influence of cultured Schwann cells on injured spinal cord in rats is examined. Focal injury of spinal cord white matter at the T10 level was produced using our original non-laminectomy method with a high-pressure air stream. Schwann cells from 7-day predegenerated rat sciatic nerves were cultured, transducted with green fluorescent protein and injected into the cisterna magna (experimental group) 3 times: immediately after spinal cord injury and 3 and 7 days later. Neurons in the brainstem and motor cortex were labeled with FluoroGold (FG) delivered caudally from the injury site a week before the end of the experiment. The functional outcome and morphologic features of neuronal survival were analyzed during a 12-week follow-up. The lesions were visualized and analyzed using magnetic resonance imaging. The maximal distance of expansion of implanted cells in the spinal cord was measured and the number of FG-positive neurons in the brain was counted. Rats treated with Schwann cells presented significant improvement of locomotor performance and spinal cord morphology compared with the control group. The distance covered by Schwann cells was 7 mm from the epicenter of the injury. The number of brainstem and motor cortex FG-positive neurons in the experimental group was significantly higher than in the control group. The data show that activated Schwann cells are able to induce the repair of injured spinal cord white matter. The route of application of cells via the cisterna magna seemed to be useful for their delivery in spinal cord injury therapy.