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Xiaolong Zheng, Wei Wang. Astrocyte transplantation for repairing the injured spinal cord: a mini-review[J]. The Journal of Biomedical Research. doi: 10.7555/JBR.36.20220012
Citation: Xiaolong Zheng, Wei Wang. Astrocyte transplantation for repairing the injured spinal cord: a mini-review[J]. The Journal of Biomedical Research. doi: 10.7555/JBR.36.20220012

Astrocyte transplantation for repairing the injured spinal cord: a mini-review

doi: 10.7555/JBR.36.20220012
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  • Corresponding author: Wei Wang, Department of Neurology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, China. Tel: +86-27-83663657, E-mail: wwang@vip.126.com
  • Received: 2022-01-11
  • Revised: 2022-04-13
  • Accepted: 2022-05-13
  • Published: 2022-06-28
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to permanent deficits in neural function without effective therapies, which places a substantial burden on families and society. Astrocytes, the major glia supporting the normal function of neurons in the spinal cord, become active and form glial scars after SCI, which has long been regarded as a barrier for axon regeneration. However, recent progress has indicated the beneficial role of astrocytes in spinal repair. During the past three decades, astrocyte transplantation for SCI treatment has gained increasing attention. In this review, we first summarize the progress of using rodent astrocytes as the primary step for spinal repair. Rodent astrocytes can survive well, migrate extensively, and mature in spinal injury; they can also inhibit host reactive glial scar formation, stimulate host axon regeneration, and promote motor, sensory, respiratory, and autonomic functional recovery. Then, we review the progress in spinal repair by using human astrocytes of various origins, including fetal brain, fetal spinal cord and pluripotent stem cells. Finally, we introduce some key questions that merit further research in the future, including rapid generation of large amounts of human astrocytes with high purity, identification of the right origins of astrocytes to maximize neural function improvement while minimizing side effects, testing human astrocyte transplantation in chronic SCI, and verification of the long-term efficacy and safety in large animal models.


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