Grafted human-induced pluripotent stem cells-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells combined with human umbilical vein endothelial cells contribute to functional recovery following spinal cord injury

Qian Li, Sumei Liu, Tianqi Zheng, Mo Li, Boling Qi, Liping Zhou, Bochao Liu, Dan Ma, Chao Zhao, Zhiguo Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating disease that causes extensive damage to oligodendrocytes and neurons leading to demyelination and axonal degeneration. In this study, we co-transplanted cell grafts containing oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) combined with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), which were reported to promote OPCs survival and migration, into rat contusion models to promote functional recovery after SCI. Methods: OPCs were derived from iPSCs and identified by immunofluorescence at different time points. Functional assays in vitro were performed to evaluate the effect of HUVECs on the proliferation, migration, and survival of OPCs by co-culture and migration assay, as well as on the neuronal axonal growth. A combination of OPCs and HUVECs was transplanted into the rat contusive model. Upon 8 weeks, immunofluorescence staining was performed to test the safety of transplanted cells and to observe the neuronal repairment, myelination, and neural circuit reconstruction at the injured area; also, the functional recovery was assessed by Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan open-field scale, Ladder climb, SEP, and MEP. Furthermore, the effect of HUVECs on grafts was also determined in vivo. Results: Data showed that HUVECs promote the proliferation, migration, and survival of OPCs both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, 8 weeks upon engraftment, the rats with OPCs and HUVECs co-transplantation noticeably facilitated remyelination, enhanced functional connection between the grafts and the host and promoted functional recovery. In addition, compared with the OPCs-alone transplantation, the co-transplantation generated more sensory neurons at the lesion border and significantly improved the sensory functional recovery. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that transplantation of OPCs combined with HUVECs significantly enhances both motor and sensory functional recovery after SCI. No significance was observed between OPCs combined with HUVECs group and OPCs-alone group in motor function recovery, while the sensory function recovery was significantly promoted in OPCs combined with HUVECs groups compared with the other two groups. These findings provide novel insights into the field of SCI research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Number of pages20
JournalStem Cell Research & Therapy
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Keywords

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • HUVECs
  • Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells

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