Many attempts have been made in animals to produce cellular regeneration in the spinal cord using a variety of transplanted cell types. The present study was to investigate whether transplantation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) into the spinal cord after contusion injury promotes a functional outcome. Spinal cord injury (SCI) was induced using an NYU impactor and hMSCs were transplanted 1 week after SCI. Behavioral testing was performed weekly for 2 months. Somatosensory (SSEPs) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded to determine functional recovery. Hindlimb performance was modestly improved in the transplanted group based on BBB scaling and pain tests. SSEP latencies in the transplanted group were significantly shorter than in the media-treated group. Pathologically, LacZ and hTau positive cells were located at the injury and adjacent sites. The data indicate improvement in functional outcome in animals treated with hMSC transplantation compared to media-treated animals.
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