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Journal of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity
Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 89-102

Effects of Cultured Adrenal Chromaffin Cell Implants on Hindlimb Reflexes of the 6-OHDA Lesioned Rat

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 80523, USA

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


The effects of implantation of cultured adrenal medullary cells on the recovery of neurotransmitter specific reflex activity were studied in the rat spinal cord using electrophysiological testing methods. Cell suspensions of cultured neonatal adrenal medullary chromaffin (AM) cells (which produce catecholamines), or Schwann (Sc) cells (controls) were implanted into the lumbar region of the spinal cord 2 weeks after catecholamine (CA) denervation by intracisternal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). All cells were taken from 7 day neonates and cultured for 10 days in the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF). Three months after implantation, the extent of implant-associated recovery of reflex activity was determined by measuring electromyogram (EMG) activity and force associated with the long latency component of the hindlimb withdrawal reflex (which is CA modulated). After the electrophysiological testing, rats were anesthetized, and the spinal cords were rapidly removed and frozen. Spinal cords were sectioned longitudinally, and implanted cells were visualized using glyoxylic acid techniques. Labelled sections were examined to determine cell survival. Results indicate that 1) chromaffin cells survive for 3 months in the segments of the cord into which they have been implanted and 2) rats implanted with AM cells have significantly more forceful withdrawal reflexes than those that received Sc cells or received no implant after lesioning.