Co-transplantation of adipose tissue-derived stromal cells and olfactory ensheathing cells for spinal cord injury repair

Eduardo D. Gomes, Sofia S. Mendes, Rita C. Assunção-Silva, Fábio G. Teixeira, Ana O. Pires, Sandra I. Anjo, Bruno Manadas, Hugo Leite-Almeida, Jeffrey M. Gimble, Nuno Sousa, Angelo C. Lepore, Nuno A. Silva, António J. Salgado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Patients suffering from spinal cord injury (SCI) still have a dismal prognosis. Despite all the efforts developed in this area, currently there are no effective treatments. Therefore, cell therapies have been proposed as a viable alternative to the current treatments used. Adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ASCs) and olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) have been used with promising results in different models of SCI, namely due to the regenerative properties of the secretome of the first, and the guidance capability of the second. Using an in vitro model of axonal growth, the dorsal root ganglia explants, we demonstrated that OECs induce neurite outgrowth mainly through cell-cell interactions, while ASCs' effects are strongly mediated by the release of paracrine factors. A proteomic analysis of ASCs' secretome revealed the presence of proteins involved in VEGF, PI3K, and Cadherin signaling pathways, which may be responsible for the effects observed. Then, the cotransplantation of ASCs and OECs showed to improve motor deficits of SCI-rats. Particular parameters of movement such as stepping, coordination, and toe clearance were improved in rats that received the transplant of cells, in comparison to nontreated rats. A histological analysis of the spinal cord tissues revealed that transplantation of ASCs and OECs had a major effect on the reduction of inflammatory cells close the lesion site. A slight reduction of astrogliosis was also evident. Overall, the results obtained with the present work indicate that the cotransplantation of ASCs and OECs brings important functional benefits to the injured spinal cord. Stem Cells 2018;36:696–708.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-708
Number of pages13
JournalStem Cells
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue-derived stem cells
  • Axonal regeneration
  • Olfactory ensheathing cells
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Spinal cord injury


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