HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS AND THEIR DERIVATES IN THE TREATMENTS OF SPINAL CORD INJURY
S. Erceg UDC: (602.9:616.732-001.5-089.843)
Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes myelopathy, damage to white matter, and myelinated fiber tracts that carry sensation and motor signals to and from the brain and is a major cause of paralysis. Currently, there are no effective therapies to reverse this disabling condition. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cells that have the capability to differentiate into nearly all cell types, including neuronal and glial fate cells. Therefore, these cells are a promising source of differentiated oligodendrocytes and motoneurons and could be used to treat neurological disorders and traumas, including SCI. Following SCI, oligodendrocytes were shown to be highly vulnerable to the factors existing in inflamed tissue and may undergo cell death. This loss of myelinating cells will cause abnormal neuronal functionality but hESC-derived oligodendrocyte transplantation can restore the functional outcome. Our findings demonstrate that oligodendrocytes and motoneuron progenitors derived from hESC when transplanted in rat model with completely transected spinal cord restore locomotor function and represent a viable cell-based strategy for restoring neuronal dysfunction in patients with spinal cord damage.