Concise review: bone marrow for the treatment of spinal cord injury: mechanisms and clinical applications

Karina T. Wright, Wagih El Masri, Aheed Osman, Joy Chowdhury, William E.B. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transplantation of bone marrow stem cells into spinal cord lesions enhances axonal regeneration and promotes functional recovery in animal studies. There are two types of adult bone marrow stem cell; hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The mechanisms by which HSCs and MSCs might promote spinal cord repair following transplantation have been extensively investigated. The objective of this review is to discuss these mechanisms; we briefly consider the controversial topic of HSC and MSC transdifferentiation into central nervous system cells but focus on the neurotrophic, tissue sparing, and reparative action of MSC grafts in the context of the spinal cord injury (SCI) milieu. We then discuss some of the specific issues related to the translation of HSC and MSC therapies for patients with SCI and present a comprehensive critique of the current bone marrow cell clinical trials for the treatment of SCI to date.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalStem cells
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • animals
  • bone marrow
  • bone marrow transplantation
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • humans
  • mesenchymal stem cell transplantation
  • spinal cord injuries
  • spinal cord regeneration


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