Transplantation of Human Skin-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Improves Locomotor Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury in Rats
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Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurologic disorder with significant impacts on quality of life, life expectancy, and economic burden. Although there are no fully restorative treatments yet available, several animal and small-scale clinical studies have highlighted the therapeutic potential of cellular interventions for SCI. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)—which are conventionally isolated from the bone marrow—recently emerged as promising candidates for treating SCI and have been shown to provide trophic support, ameliorate inflammatory responses, and reduce cell death following the mechanical trauma. Here we evaluated the human skin as an alternative source of adult MSCs suitable for autologous cell transplantation strategies for SCI. We showed that human skin-derived MSCs (hSD-MSCs) express a range of neural markers under standard culture conditions and are able to survive and respond to neurogenic stimulation in vitro. In addition, using histological analysis and behavioral assessment, we demonstrated as a proof-of-principle that hSD-MSC transplantation reduces the severity of tissue loss and facilitates locomotor recovery in a rat model of SCI. Altogether, the study provides further characterization of skin-derived MSC cultures and indicates that the human skin may represent an attractive source for cell-based therapies for SCI and other neurological disorders. Further investigation is needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which hSD-MSCs elicit tissue repair and/or locomotor recovery.
KeywordsMesenchymal stem cells Spinal cord injury Human skin Cell transplantation
This work was supported by the Ministério da Saúde (MS-SCTIE-DECIT), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação/Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (MCTI/CNPq/Brazil), CNPq/PIBIC/PIBIT (Brazil), Coordenação de Aperfeiçamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brazil), Instituto Nacional de Neurociência Translacional (MCTI/INNT), and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Santa Catarina (FAPESC, Brazil). RBB is supported by a fellowship from the Science Without Borders Program (CAPES, Brazil).
Conceived and designed the experiments: FRM, RBB, SF, GAR, AGT. Performed the experiments: FRM, SF, ACM, MR, PBD. Analyzed the data: FRM, SF, ACM, RBB, CPF. Wrote the manuscript: RBB, CPF, AGT.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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