Tissue-Engineered Regeneration of Completely Transected Spinal Cord Using Induced Neural Stem Cells and Gelatin-Electrospun Poly (Lactide-Co-Glycolide)/Polyethylene Glycol Scaffolds

>Tissue engineering has brought new possibilities for the treatment of spinal cord injury. Two important components for tissue engineering of the spinal cord include a suitable cell source and scaffold. In our study, we investigated induced mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) directly reprogrammed into neural stem cells (iNSCs), as a cell source. Three-dimensional (3D) electrospun poly (lactide-co-glycolide)/polyethylene glycol (PLGA-PEG) nanofiber scaffolds were used for iNSCs adhesion and growth. Cell growth, survival and proliferation on the scaffolds were investigated. Scanning electron microcopy (SEM) and nuclei staining were used to assess cell growth on the scaffolds. Scaffolds with iNSCs were then transplanted into transected rat spinal cords. Two or 8 weeks following transplantation, immunofluorescence was performed to determine iNSC survival and differentiation within the scaffolds. Functional recovery was assessed using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) Scale. Results indicated that iNSCs showed similar morphological features with wild-type neural stem cells (wt-NSCs), and expressed a variety of neural stem cell marker genes. Furthermore, iNSCs were shown to survive, with the ability to self-renew and undergo neural differentiation into neurons and glial cells within the 3D scaffolds in vivo. The iNSC-seeded scaffolds restored the continuity of the spinal cord and reduced cavity formation. Additionally, iNSC-seeded scaffolds contributed to functional recovery of the spinal cord. Therefore, PLGA-PEG scaffolds seeded with iNSCs may serve as promising supporting transplants for repairing spinal cord injury (SCI).

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Source URL:http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0117709