Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clonal human neurons re-establish connection in rats with severe spinal cord injury, USF study finds

01.07.2002


Human neurons grown as cells cloned from a tumor helped restore the function of severely injured spinal cords in rats, University of South Florida researchers say in a study released this week in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.



"Transplants of these specially treated cells were used to patch a short circuit in the spinal cord of rats," said Samuel Saporta, PhD, associate director of the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair, professor of anatomy and lead author of the study. "We demonstrated the cells are safe, survive and can electrically reconnect the undamaged parts of the spinal cord."

A couple of the spinal cord-injured (SCI) rats could bear weight on their hind legs following transplantation with the experimental cells, known commercially as hNT, or LBS, neurons. However, the researchers emphasize, more studies are needed to determine if rats with reconnected spinal cords can walk again.


"We are hopeful that our work with hNT neurons in an animal model for spinal cord injury will ultimately lead to the first transplant of human neural progenitor cells to treat spinal cord injury in humans," said neuroscientist Paul R. Sanberg, PhD, DSc, director of the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair and a study co-author.

Dr. Saporta, Dr. Sanberg and colleagues at USF conducted preclinical research with hNT neurons that led to the first transplant to repair brain damage from stroke in 1998. That clinical trial, ongoing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has shown initial promise in improving the function of a small group of stroke patients.

HNT neurons originate from a rare human cancer characterized by the presence of immature or "progenitor" cells. These rapidly dividing tumor cells have the capacity to differentiate into neurons, each a clone of the original cells.

The cells can be treated with retinoic acid in the laboratory to prompt them into becoming fully committd, non-dividing neurons. Research in both animals and humans has shown that these hNT neurons do not revert to cancer cells.

The USF team studied three groups of rats with severe SCI. One group was administered hNT neurons immediately following injury, another received transplants two weeks after SCI injury, and the third, a control group, received no transplant.

The spinal cord, which runs from the brain to the end of the spine, is like an electrical circuit that sends messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body. If the spinal cord is damaged or severed, however, the electrical activity either stops from the point of injury downward or provides faulty messages.

All seven animals in the delayed transplant group recovered electrical activity in the spinal cord neurons that control muscle movement. Only two of nine animals in the immediate transplant group did. In addition this electrical activity — known as motor evoked potentials or MEPs — measured much stronger in the delayed transplant group than in rats receiving hNT neurons immediately after injury. The untreated SCI rats had no improvement in motor neuron transmission.

The researchers suspect that the better recovery results in the animals with delayed transplants, compared to those transplanted right after injury, may be due to a less hostile immune environment as time passes. Immediately following injury, Dr. Saporta said, inflammatory substances called cytokines recruit immune cells to clear all foreign material away from the area of injury — including, perhaps some of the transplanted hNT neurons.

Pathological examination showed that the transplanted hNT neurons, injected into the spinal cord at the site of injury, maintained the characteristics of neurons. The cells sprouted fibers, or axons, that grew into the undamaged, intact portions of the spinal cord above and below the injured area.

Although two transplanted animals were able to bear weight, none of the rats walked following treatment with the dose of hNT neurons administered in this study.

The transplanted cells appear to fill in the area of damage and re-establish a neural connection, Dr. Saporta said. "This suggests it may be possible to teach the spinal cord, through rehabilitation, how to send out appropriate signals to the muscles so the animal can walk again … That’s the next step."

Layton BioScience Inc. of Atherton, CA, holds the license for hNT neuron transplantation technology and is developing the cells for the treatment of several neurological disorders.

In addition to Dr. Saporta and Dr. Sanberg, other authors of the study were Shahram Makoui, MD; Alison Willing, PhD, and David Cahill, MD, all of the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair; and Marcel Daadi, PhD; of Layton Bioscience, Inc.

Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>