Transplants of central nervous system to adult spinal cords are considered as potential aids in regeneration of the spinal cord and/or recovery of function after injury. The organization and development of the implant are important issues in seeking the potential for a transplant and host to become functionally integrated. This study uses embryonic cerebral cortex transplanted into the spinal cord of adult rats (T6) and examined the development and organization of the transplant with an antibody to vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). The cell bodies of VIP neurons are in the implants at 30 days postimplantation, but few of the somata have processes. By 45 days postimplantation, VIP neurons in the implant have dendrites and axons and are clearly recognizable as cortical bipolar cells which are not normally present in the thoracic spinal cord. These data show that neurons in embryonic cerebral cortical implants into the spinal cord elaborate the appropriate biochemical and morphological constituents in spite of the ectopic location. However, the cell processes develop at a slower than normal pace. Morphological interaction between the host spinal cord and the implant can be demonstrated possibly as early as 45 days postimplantation and clearly at 6 months following the implant. Thus, further examination of cerebral cortical implants as a potential aid in allevation of paraplegia subsequent to spinal cord injury is warranted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology