Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a clinical condition that leads to permanent and/or progressive disabilities of sensory, motor, and autonomic functions. Unfortunately, no medical standard of care for SCI exists to reverse the damage. Here, we assessed the effects of induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) directly converted from human urine cells (UCs) in SCI rat models. We successfully generated iNSCs from human UCs, commercial fibroblasts, and patient-derived fibroblasts. These iNSCs expressed various neural stem cell markers and differentiated into diverse neuronal and glial cell types. When transplanted into injured spinal cords, UC-derived iNSCs survived, engrafted, and expressed neuronal and glial markers. Large numbers of axons extended from grafts over long distances, leading to connections between host and graft neurons at 8 weeks post-transplantation with significant improvement of locomotor function. This study suggests that iNSCs have biomedical applications for disease modeling and constitute an alternative transplantation strategy as a personalized cell source for neural regeneration in several spinal cord diseases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI, South Korea), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (grant number: HI18C2166), Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant number: 2020-ER6102-00), the Institute of Animal Molecular Biotechnology Grant, the Korea University Grant, and the Korea University Anam Hospital Grant.
© 2023, The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry