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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 786475, 32 pages
Review Article

Cell Transplantation for Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review

1Department of Neurosurgery, Eberhard Karls University, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
2Department of Spine Surgery, The Affiliated Hospital of Luzhou Medical College, 646000 Luzhou, China
3Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurology, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, Avnida Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar 255, 05403-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 10 September 2012; Revised 16 November 2012; Accepted 11 December 2012

Academic Editor: Xuan Jin

Copyright © 2013 Jun Li and Guilherme Lepski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cell transplantation, as a therapeutic intervention for spinal cord injury (SCI), has been extensively studied by researchers in recent years. A number of different kinds of stem cells, neural progenitors, and glial cells have been tested in basic research, and most have been excluded from clinical studies because of a variety of reasons, including safety and efficacy. The signaling pathways, protein interactions, cellular behavior, and the differentiated fates of experimental cells have been studied in vitro in detail. Furthermore, the survival, proliferation, differentiation, and effects on promoting functional recovery of transplanted cells have also been examined in different animal SCI models. However, despite significant progress, a “bench to bedside” gap still exists. In this paper, we comprehensively cover publications in the field from the last years. The most commonly utilized cell lineages were covered in this paper and specific areas covered include survival of grafted cells, axonal regeneration and remyelination, sensory and motor functional recovery, and electrophysiological improvements. Finally we also review the literature on the in vivo tracking techniques for transplanted cells.