spinal injury

Increased vascularization promotes functional recovery in the transected spinal cord rats by implanted vascular endothelial growth factor-targeting collagen scaffold

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is global health concern. The effective strategies for SCI are relevant to the improvement on nerve regeneration microenvironment. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important cytokine for inducing angiogenesis and accelerating nerve system function recovery from injury. We proposed that VEGF could improve nerve regeneration in SCI.

Treatment with hydrogen sulfide attenuates sublesional skeletal deterioration following motor complete spinal cord injury in rats

Treatment with hydrogen sulfide mitigates spinal cord injury-induced sublesional bone loss, possibly through abating oxidative stress, suppressing MMP activity, and activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Spinal cord injury (SCI)-induced sublesional bone loss represents the most severe osteoporosis and is resistant to available treatments to data.

A comprehensive study of long-term skeletal changes after spinal cord injury in adult rats


Tiao Lin, Wei Tong, Abhishek Chandra, Shao-Yun Hsu, Haoruo Jia, Ji Zhu, Wei-Ju Tseng, Michael A Levine, Yejia Zhang, Shi-Gui Yan, X Sherry Liu, Dongming Sun, Wise Young & Ling Qin


Spinal cord injury (SCI)-induced bone loss represents the most severe osteoporosis with no effective treatment. Past animal studies have focused primarily on long bones at the acute stage using adolescent rodents. To mimic chronic SCI in human patients, we performed a comprehensive analysis of long-term structural and mechanical changes in axial and appendicular bones in adult rats after SCI. In this experiment, 4-month-old Fischer 344 male rats received a clinically relevant T13 contusion injury. Sixteen weeks later, sublesional femurs, tibiae, and L4 vertebrae, supralesional humeri, and blood were collected from these rats and additional non-surgery rats for micro-computed tomography (µCT), micro-finite element, histology, and serum biochemical analyses. At trabecular sites, extreme losses of bone structure and mechanical competence were detected in the metaphysis of sublesional long bones after SCI, while the subchondral part of the same bones showed much milder damage. Marked reductions in bone mass and strength were also observed in sublesional L4 vertebrae but not in supralesional humeri. At cortical sites, SCI induced structural and strength damage in both sub- and supralesional long bones. These changes were accompanied by diminished osteoblast number and activity and increased osteoclast number and activity. Taken together, our study revealed site-specific effects of SCI on bone and demonstrated sustained inhibition of bone formation and elevation of bone resorption at the chronic stage of SCI.

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Treatment with curcumin alleviates sublesional bone loss following spinal cord injury in rats


Xiaobin Yang, Baorong He, Peng Liu, Liang Yan, Ming Yang, Dichen Li


This work aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of curcumin on sublesional bone loss induced by spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats. SCI model in this work was generated in rats by surgical transaction of the cord at the T10–12 level. After the surgery, animals were treated with curcumin (110 mg/kg body mass/day, via oral gavages) for 2 weeks. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin prevented the reduction of bone mass in tibiae and femurs, preserved bone microstructure including trabecular bone volume fraction, trabecular number, and trabecular thickness in proximal tibiae, and preserved mechanical properties of femoral midshaft. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin increased osteoblast surface and reduced osteoclast surface in proximal tibiae. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin increased osteocalcin mRNA expression and reduced mRNA levels of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and mRNA ratio of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand/osteoprotegerin in distal femurs. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin reduced serum and femoral levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin had no significant effect on serum 25(OH)D, but enhanced mRNA and protein expression of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in distal femurs. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin enhanced mRNA levels of Wnt3a, Lrp5, and ctnnb1 and upregulated protein expression of β-catenin in distal femurs. In conclusions, treatment with curcumin abated oxidative stress, activated VDR, and enhanced Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which might explain its beneficial effect against sublesional bone loss following SCI in rats, at least in part.

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Maximizing bone formation in posterior spine fusion using rhBMP-2 and zoledronic acid in wild type and NF1 deficient mice


Justin Bobyn, Anton Rasch, Mikulec Kathy, David G. Little, and Aaron Schindeler


Spinal pseudarthrosis is a well described complication of spine fusion surgery in NF1 patients. Reduced bone formation and excessive resorption have been described in NF1 and anti-resorptive agents may be advantageous in these individuals. In this study, 16 wild type and 16 Nf1+/− mice were subjected to posterolateral fusion using collagen sponges containing 5 µg rhBMP-2 introduced bilaterally. Mice were dosed twice weekly with 0.02 mg/kg zoledronic acid (ZA) or sterile saline. The fusion mass was assessed for bone volume (BV) and bone mineral density (BMD) by microCT. Co-treatment using rhBMP-2 and ZA produced a significant increase (p < 0.01) in BV of the fusion mass compared to rhBMP-2 alone in both wild type mice (+229%) and Nf1+/− mice (+174%). Co-treatment also produced a significantly higher total BMD of the fusion mass compared to rhBMP-2 alone in both groups (p < 0.01). Despite these gains with anti-resorptive treatment, Nf1+/− deficient mice still generated less bone than wild type controls. TRAP staining on histological sections indicated an increased osteoclast surface/bone surface (Oc.S/BS) in Nf1+/− mice relative to wild type mice, and this was reduced with ZA treatment.

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Allogeneic Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells for Posterolateral Lumbar Spine Fusion in Sheep


Donna L. Wheeler, PhD, Joseph M. Lane, MD, Howard B. Seim III, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, Christian Puttlitz, PhD, Silviu Itescu, MD, A. Simon Turner, B.V.Sc, M.S, Dipl. ACVS



Osteoconductive porous ceramic bone graft materials supplemented with mesenchymal precursor cells (MPC) derived from autologous bone marrow aspirates have been shown to stimulate successful interbody and posterolateral spine fusion in preclinical models. Recent advances in immunomagnetic cell sorting have enabled purification and isolation of pleuripotent stem cells from marrow aspirates and have expanded stem cell technology to allogeneic cell sources. Allogeneic MPC technology combined with appropriate synthetic biomaterial carriers could provide both the osteogenic and osteoconductive components needed for successful posterolateral spine fusion without the need for autologous bone harvest or expensive recombinant protein technology.


To determine the safety and efficacy of a hydroxyapatite:tricalcium phosphate graft material supplemented with allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells in posterolateral lumbar spine fusion using an ovine model.

Study Design

Skeletally mature ewes underwent single-level instrumented posterolateral lumbar spine fusion using either autograft (AG), hydroxyapatite:tricalcium phosphate carrier (CP), or CP supplemented with allogeneic mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs). Three doses of MPCs were evaluated: 25 X 106 cells (low dose, LD), 75 X 106 cells (mid dose, MD), and 225 X 106 cell (high dose, HD). Animals survived for either 4 or 9 months.


Plain radiographs were acquired and scored for bridging bone at regular intervals during healing to monitor fusion development. Hematology, coagulation and serum chemistry were monitored at regular interval throughout the study to monitor animal health. After necropsy, computed tomography, high resolution radiography, biomechanical testing, organ pathology, bone histopathology, and bone histomorphometry were conducted to monitor the safety and ascertain the efficacy of MPC treatment.


MPC treatment in this spine fusion model resulted in no observed adverse systemic or local tissue responses. Radiographically, fusion scores for MPC treated animals were uniformly higher compared to those treated with carrier alone (CP) after 3 months and continued the same trend throughout 9 month of healing. Quantitative computed tomography (qCT) confirmed better connectivity of the fusion for MPC treatment groups compared to CP. Biomechanical analyses were not able to differentiate between treatment groups. Histomorphometry results confirmed radiographic and qCT results; cell-supplemented treatment groups and autograft had equivalent amounts of bone within the fusion mass and less bony fusion tissue was found within the fusion mass in specimens from the CP treatment group. No conclusive effects of cell dose of fusion efficacy were noted.


Adult allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells delivered via a hydroxyapatite:tricalcium phosphate carrier were both safe and efficacious in this ovine spine fusion model. Results from this preclinical study support that allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells produced fusion efficacy similar to that achieved using iliac crest autograft, thereby providing a safe and viable option to achieve successful posterolateral spine fusion.

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