Effects of embryonic neural stem cells and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor in the repair of spinal cord injury

Yong Sun, Jian Shi, Sai Li Fu, Pei Hua Lu, Xiao Ming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The ability of implanted embryonic neural stem cells NSCs) to improve survival, migration, and functional recovery following a compression spinal cord injury (SCI) was tested in adult rats. NSCs were isolated from E14-16 rat cerebral cortex and SCI was produced by using an aneurysm clip applicator applied to the 8th thoracic spinal cord according to method of Dolan and Tator. Two weeks after the injury, NSCs (4 μl of 1 x 10 4 cells/μl) were injected into the lesion site. The grafted NSCs were noted to survive and integrate with the host spinal cord 1 month after transplantation, which was demonstrated by the presence of Hoechst 33342 (a nuclear dye) pre-labeled NSCs within and surrounding the lesion site. Some of these cells remained undifferentiated and were stained with nestin, a marker for NSCs. Transplanted NSCs migrated for at least 3 mm from the injury epicenter towards both the rostral and caudal directions. Significant reduction in the lesion area (P < 0.05) and improvement in inclined plane (P < 0.05) and BBB locomotor rating scale (P < 0.05) were found in the cases that received implantation of NSCs, as compared with those that received vehicle injection. More importantly, when glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF; 1.5 μg/μl) was added to the transplants, further reduction in lesion area (P < 0.01) and improvement in the function were observed in the combined treatment group as compared with the vehicle infused group. Our results suggest that intraspinal treatment with NSCs and GDNF synergistically reduced lesion size and improved functional outcome after a compressive SCI in adult rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-354
Number of pages6
JournalActa Physiologica Sinica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 25 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Neural stem cell
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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