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17 June 2017 : Animal Research  

Feasibility of Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Assessing Functional Recovery in Rats with Olfactory Ensheathing Cell Transplantation After Contusive Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Mengchao Gu1ABCE, Zhengchao Gao1BC, Xiaohui Li2ACG, Feng Zhao3E, Lei Guo4B, Jiantao Liu3F, Xijing He4EG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.902126

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:2961-2971

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation is a promising treatment for spinal cord injury. Diffusion tensor imaging has been applied to assess various kinds of spinal cord injury. However, it has rarely been used to evaluate the beneficial effects of olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation. This study aimed to explore the feasibility of diffusion tensor imaging in the evaluation of functional recovery in rats with olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation after contusive spinal cord injury.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Immunofluorescence staining was performed to determine the purity of olfactory ensheathing cells. Rats received cell transplantation at week 1 after injury. Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan score was used to assess the functional recovery. Magnetic resonance imaging was applied weekly, including diffusion tensor imaging. Diffusion tensor tractography was reconstructed to visualize the repair process.

RESULTS: The results showed that olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation increased the functional and histological recovery and restrained the secondary injury process after the initial spinal cord injury. The fractional anisotropy values in rats with cell transplantation were significantly higher than those in the control group, while the apparent diffusion coefficient values were significantly lower. Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan score was positively and linearly correlated with fractional anisotropy value, and it was negatively and linearly correlated with apparent diffusion coefficient value.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that diffusion tensor imaging parameters are sensitive biomarker indices for olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation interventions, and diffusion tensor imaging scan can reflect the functional recovery promoted by the olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation after contusive spinal cord injury.

Keywords: Spinal Cord Injuries, Cell Transplantation, diffusion tensor imaging, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750