Axon regeneration through scaffold into distal spinal cord after transection

Bing Kun Chen, Andrew M. Knight, Godard C.W. De Ruiter, Robert J. Spinner, Michael J. Yaszemski, Bradford L. Currier, Anthony J. Windebank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

We employed Fast Blue (FB) axonal tracing to determine the origin of regenerating axons after thoracic spinal cord transection injury in rats. Schwann cell (SC)-loaded, biodegradable, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were implanted after transection. Scaffolds loaded with solubilized basement membrane preparation (without SCs) were used for negative controls, and nontransected cords were positive controls. One or 2 months after injury and scaffold implantation, FB was injected 0-15mm caudal or about 5mm rostral to the scaffold. One week later, tissue was harvested and the scaffold and cord sectioned longitudinally (30μm) on a cryostat. Trans-scaffold labeling of neuron cell bodies was identified with confocal microscopy in all cell-transplanted groups. Large (30-50μm diameter) neuron cell bodies were predominantly labeled in the ventral horn region. Most labeled neurons were seen 1-10mm rostral to the scaffold, although some neurons were also labeled in the cervical cord. Axonal growth occurred bidirectionally after cord transection, and axons regenerated up to 14mm beyond the PLGA scaffolds and into distal cord. The extent of FB labeling was negatively correlated with distance from the injection site to the scaffold. Electron microscopy showed myelinated axons in the transverse sections of the implanted scaffold 2 months after implantation. The pattern of myelination, with extracellular collagen and basal lamina, was characteristic of SC myelination. Our results show that FB labeling is an effective way to measure the origin of regenerating axons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1759-1771
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Volume26
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

Keywords

  • Axonal tracing
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Fast Blue
  • Schwann cells
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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