Engineered Human Spinal Cord-Like Tissues with Dorsal and Ventral Neuronal Progenitors for Spinal Cord Injury Repair in Rats and Monkeys
Bai Xu, Dingyang Liu, Weiyuan Liu, Ge Long, Wenbin Liu , Yayu Wu, Xinghui He, Yeyu Shen, Peipei Jiang, Man Yin, Yongheng Fan, He Shen, Liyang Shi, Qi Zhang, Weiwei Xue, Chen Jin, Zhenni Chen, Bing Chen, Jiayin Li, Yali Hu，Xing Li, Zhifeng Xiao, Yannan Zhao, Jianwu Dai
Transplanting human neural progenitor cells is a promising method of replenishing the lost neurons after spinal cord injury (SCI), but differentiating neural progenitor cells into the diverse types of mature functional spinal cord neurons in vivo is challenging. In this study, engineered human embryonic spinal cord-like tissues with dorsal and ventral neuronal characters (DV-SC) were generated by inducing human neural progenitor cells (hscNPCs) to differentiate into various types of dorsal and ventral neuronal cells on collagen scaffold in vitro. Transplantation of DV-SC into complete SCI models in rats and monkeys showed better therapeutic effects than undifferentiated hscNPCs, including pronounced cell survival and maturation. DV-SC formed a targeted connection with the host's ascending and descending axons, partially restored interrupted neural circuits, and improved motor evoked potentials and the hindlimb function of animals with SCI. This suggests that the transplantation of pre-differentiated hscNPCs with spinal cord dorsal and ventral neuronal characteristics could be a promising strategy for SCI repair.