spinal-cord-injuries-in-mice-treated-with-neuron-transplants. SAN FRANCISCO, Mice with spinal cord injuries had increased bladder control and reduced neuropathic pain after receiving injections of human stem cells, according to researchers.
The successful treatment of spinal cord injury side effects using stem cells is a significant step forward, and suggests two of the worst side effects of the injuries can be corrected, researchers at the University of California San Francisco report.
In spinal cord injuries, chronic pain and loss of bladder control are caused by inflammation immediately after the injury, which leads to further damage of neural circuitry in the spinal cord causing it to lose control of pain and other sensations.
For the study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the researchers caused lab-grown human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into medial ganglionic eminence-like inhibitory neuron precursors — these are the cells in the spinal cord controlling sensations and other processes — and transplanted them into mice two weeks after spinal injury.
Six months later, the stem cells had developed into mature neurons making the proper synaptic connections in mice that received transplants. While mice that did not receive transplants continued to be hypersensitive to touch and painful stimuli, those given transplants had fewer signs of neuropathic pain and improved bladder function.
“This is an important proof of principle for using cell therapy to repair damaged neural tissue. It brings us one step closer to using such transplants to bring much needed relief to people with spinal cord injuries,” Kriegstein said.