Indexed on: 13 Aug '04Published on: 13 Aug '04Published in: Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
The restoration of function of transected adult mammalian spinal cord without living tissue has not been reported previously. We report the first success of functional restoration of transected spinal cord without living tissue. We grafted collagen filaments parallel or transverse to the axis of the spinal cord to bridge 5-mm defects of 47 adult rat spinal cords. Twenty-five rats were used as a control. Of the 72 rats, 42 rats survived the experimental period. At 4 weeks postoperatively, regenerated axons crossed the proximal and distal spinal cord-implant interfaces in all 5 rats of the parallel-grafted group. At 12 weeks postoperatively, the rats in the parallel-grafted group (8 rats) could walk, run, and climb with hind-forelimb coordination. The somatosensory-evoked potentials were seen. Results suggest that the collagen filaments support the axonal regeneration of the transected spinal cord and the restoration of function when grafted parallel to the axis of the spinal cord. The functional restoration appeared to be permanent, raising the possibility of therapeutic application in humans.