Background: Human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells (HUMSCs) isolated from Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord can be easily obtained and processed compared with embryonic or bone marrow stem cells. These cells may be a valuable source in the repair of spinal cord injury. Methodology/Principal Findings: We examine the effects of HUMSC transplantation after complete spinal cord transection in rats. Approximately 5×105 HUMSCs were transplanted into the lesion site. Three groups of rats were implanted with either untreated HUMSCs (referred to as the stem cell group), or HUMSCs treated with neuronal conditioned medium (NCM) for either three days or six days (referred to as NCM-3 and NCM-6 days, respectively). The control group received no HUMSCs in the transected spinal cord. Three weeks after transplantation, significant improvements in locomotion were observed in all the three groups receiving HUMSCs (stem cell, NCM-3 and NCM-6 days groups). This recovery was accompanied by increased numbers of regenerated axons in the corticospinal tract and neurofilament-positive fibers around the lesion site. There were fewer microglia and reactive astrocytes in both the rostral and caudal stumps of the spinal cord in the stem cell group than in the control group. Transplanted HUMSCs survived for 16 weeks and produced large amounts of human neutrophil-activating protein-2, neurotrophin-3, basic fibroblast growth factor, glucocorticoid induced tumor necrosis factor receptor, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 in the host spinal cord, which may help spinal cord repair. Conclusions/Significance: Transplantation of HUMSCs is beneficial to wound healing after spinal cord injury in rats. © 2008 Yang et al.
Yang, C. C., Shih, Y. H., Ko, M. H., Hsu, S. Y., Cheng, H., & Fu, Y. S. (2008). Transplantation of human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells from Wharton’s jelly after complete transection of the rat spinal cord. PLoS ONE, 3(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003336