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Transplantation of stem cells to restore descending control of lost motor functions after spinal cord injury

The lesion area after spinal cord injury becomes extremely hostile for growth of nerve fibers and blocks any possible extension of injured nerve fibers. Our approach is to circumvent the lesion area by creating outside the spinal cord a neuronal station which will relay information from above to below the injury. In this way it may be possible to restore descending control of motor functions below the injury.

It is well established that injured nerve fibers in the spinal cord are able to grow for long distances in a peripheral nerve environment. By inserting a piece of a peripheral nerve we induce nerve fibers from above a spinal cord injury to grow into this peripheral nerve graft. At the other end of this graft, outside the spinal cord, we place a transplant of stem cells with the aimed to generate nerve cells which on one hand will be contacted by nerve fibers growing in the peripheral nerve graft and on the other hand will grow their own nerve fibers into the spinal cord below the lesion. In this way we have created around the injury a bridge composed of host descending nerve fibers making contacts with peripherally transplanted stem cell-derived nerve cells which, in turn, relay the descending information into the spinal motor networks below the injury.



Elena Kozlova, docent

Håkan Aldskogius, prof

Mariya Koshevnikova, postdoc

Niclas König, doktorand

Ninnie Abrahamsson, BMA

Carl Trolle, projektstud



Richardson Leao, Inst för neurovetenskap, UU

Inst för teknikvetenskaper; Nanoteknologi och funktionella material, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala universitet

Inst NEUROTEC, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm



Elena Kozlova

Group leader:

Prof. Elena Kozlova