An Analysis of Treatments for Severe Spinal Cord Injury using adult stem cells
Zakar, Christine A.
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Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes irreversible damage to the axons because of their inability to regenerate and elongate, this in turn may cause permanent disabilities and paralysis of lower and upper extremities depending on the severity of the injury. Past research has suggested that adult stem cells may be an effective treatment for SCI; however, little research has directly compared different types of treatments to determine which one is the most effective. Therefore, this is an exploratory study that directly compares the use of two sources of adult stem cells, olfactory mucosa and bone marrow, to find which one restores motor function more. Also, this study explores the idea of combining different treatments together into one treatment to see if the outcome is more effective than using a single treatment. We created a SCI in adult female rats using a weight-drop method, and then used behavioral analysis, BBB testing, to monitor recovery under these various treatments. All treatments, except for two, had a significant increase in motor function post-treatment; however, the improvement in motor function did not significantly differ between the treatment groups and the control group. We did not find any significance in the histological analysis, Luxol Fast Blue, Nissl, and Anti-serotonin staining, suggesting that the amount of myelin, the size of the cavity, and the number of serotonin axons is not dependent on recovering motor function. Olfactory mucosa had a slightly higher improvement in motor function than using bone marrow cells, and the combination of neural cells, microglia, and triidothyronine was the most effective SCI treatment. Determining the most effective SCI treatment will aid in the transition from animal research to human clinical trials in order to help cure SCI.