Effects of astrocyte implantation into the hemisected adult rat spinal cord
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Wang, JJ and Chuah, MI and Yew, DTW and Leung, PC and Tsang, DSC, Effects of astrocyte implantation into the hemisected adult rat spinal cord, Neuroscience, 65, (4) pp. 973-981. ISSN 0306-4522 (1995) [Refereed Article]
Morphological and biochemical methods were applied to assess the effects of implanting cultured astrocytes into the hemisected adult rat spinal cord. Astrocytes were purified from neonatal rat cortex and introduced into the lesioned spinal cord either in suspension injection or cultured on gelfoam first. The control groups were rats which had hemisection with injection of culture media or with gelfoam grafted alone. At various time points after surgery (two weeks to two months), the spinal cord was removed and processed for routine light microscopy, immunofluorescence, gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. As early as two weeks after surgery, a significantly smaller volume of scar tissue was consistently found in the experimental groups. This reduced scarring was also confirmed by immunofluorescence staining and immunoblotting for glial fibrillary acidic protein in the specimens two months after hemisection. Compared to the control groups, the experimental groups also had more intense staining for neurofilaments, which was confirmed by immunoblotting. However, labelling of the astrocytes with Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin conjugated with fluorescein showed that the astrocytes migrated at a rate of 0.6 mm/day from the original implanted site. The results therefore suggested that the cultured astrocytes probably exerted their effects over a short time period (less than two weeks) around the lesion site. They could have altered the microenvironment and as a result less scar tissue was formed. Hence, there was less barrier to the regrowth of nerve fibres. © 1995.
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