Survival, Differentiation, and Migration of High-Purity Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Progenitor Motor Neurons in Fibrin Scaffolds after Sub-Acute Spinal Cord Injury.
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Embryonic stem (ES) cells can be differentiated into many neural cell types that hold great potential as cell replacement therapies following spinal cord injury (SCI). Coupling stem cell transplantation with biomaterial scaffolds can produce a unified combination therapy with several potential advantages including enhanced cell survival, greater transplant retention, reduced scarring, and improved integration at the transplant/host interface. Undesired cell types, however, are commonly present in ES-cell derived cultures due to the limited efficiency of most ES cell induction protocols. Heterogeneous cell populations can confound the interaction between the biomaterial and specific neural populations leading to undesired outcomes. In particular, biomaterials scaffolds may enhance tumor formation by promoting survival and proliferation of undifferentiated ES cells that can persist after induction. Methods for purification of specific ES cell-derived neural populations are necessary to recognize the full potential of combination therapies involving biomaterials and ES cell-derived neural populations. We previously developed a method for enriching ES cell-derived progenitor motor neurons (pMNs) induced from mouse ES cells via antibiotic selection and showed that the enriched cell populations are depleted of pluripotent stem cells. In this study, we demonstrate the survival and differentiation of enriched pMNs within three dimensional (3D) fibrin scaffolds in vitro and when transplanted into a sub-acute dorsal hemisection model of SCI into neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.