Authors: Satoshi Nori, Mohamad Kahazaei, Christopher S. Ahuja, Kazuya Yokota, Jan-Eric Ahlfors, Yang Liu, Jain Wang, Shinsuke Shibata, Jonathon Chio, Marian H Hettiaratchi, Tobias Fuhrmann, Molly S. Shoichet, Michael G. Gehlings
“Treatment of chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) is challenging due to cell loss, cyst formation, and the glial scar. Previously, we reported on the therapeutic potential of a neural progenitor cell (NPC) and chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) combinatorial therapy for chronic SCI. However, the source of NPCs and delivery system required for ChABC remained barriers to clinical application. Here, we investigated directly reprogrammed human NPCs biased toward an oligodendrogenic fate (oNPCs) in combination with sustained delivery of ChABC using an innovative affinity release strategy in a crosslinked methylcellulose biomaterial for the treatment of chronic SCI in an immunodeficient rat model.
This combinatorial therapy increased long-term survival of oNPCs around the lesion epicenter, facilitated greater oligodendrocyte differentiation, remyelination of the spared axons by engrafted oNPCs, enhanced synaptic connectivity with anterior horn cells and neurobehavioral recovery. This combinatorial therapy is a promising strategy to regenerate the chronically injured spinal cord.“