Introduction: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have emerged as a promising cell source for immune-compatible cell therapy. Although a variety of somatic cells have been tried for iPSC generation, it is still of great interest to test new cell types, especially those which are hardly obtainable in a normal situation. Methods: In this study, we generated iPSCs by using the cells originated from intervertebral disc which were removed during a spinal operation after spinal cord injury. We investigated the pluripotency of disc cell-derived iPSCs (diPSCs) and neural differentiation capability as well as therapeutic effect in spinal cord injury. Results: The diPSCs displayed similar characteristics to human embryonic stem cells and were efficiently differentiated into neural precursor cells (NPCs) with the capability of differentiation into mature neurons in vitro. When the diPSC-derived NPCs were transplanted into mice 9 days after spinal cord injury, we detected a significant amelioration of hindlimb dysfunction during follow-up recovery periods. Histological analysis at 5 weeks after transplantation identified undifferentiated human NPCs (Nestin+) as well as early (Tuj1+) and mature (MAP2+) neurons derived from the transplanted NPCs. Furthermore, NPC transplantation demonstrated a preventive effect on spinal cord degeneration resulting from the secondary injury. Conclusion: This study revealed that intervertebral discs removed during surgery for spinal stabilization after spinal cord injury, previously considered a "waste" tissue, may provide a unique opportunity to study iPSCs derived from difficult-to-access somatic cells and a useful therapeutic resource for autologous cell replacement therapy in spinal cord injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology