Scientific reports

Transplantation of hUC-MSCs seeded collagen scaffolds reduces scar formation and promotes functional recovery in canines with chronic spinal cord injury.

PMID 28262732


Spinal cord injury (SCI) can lead to locomotor deficits, and the repair of chronic SCI is considered one of the most challenging clinical problems. Although extensive studies have evaluated treatments for acute SCI in small animals, comparatively fewer studies have been conducted on large-animal SCI in the chronic phase, which is more clinically relevant. Here, we used a collagen-based biomaterial, named the NeuroRegen scaffold, loaded with human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) in a canine chronic SCI model. To generate chronic SCI, the T8 spinal cord segment was removed by complete transection of the spinal cord. Two months later, glial scar tissue was removed and a NeuroRegen scaffold was transplanted into the lesion area. Functionalized NeuroRegen scaffold implantation promoted both locomotor recovery and endogenous neurogenesis in the lesion area. Moreover, some newly generated neurons successfully matured into 5-HT-positive neurons at 1 year post-injury. In addition, many regenerated axon fibers in the lesion area exhibited remyelination and synapse formation at 1 year post-injury in the functionalized NeuroRegen scaffold group. In conclusion, the NeuroRegen scaffold functionalized with hUC-MSCs is a promising potential therapeutic approach to chronic SCI that promotes neuronal regeneration, reduces glial scar formation, and ultimately improves locomotor recovery.