Regenerating Corticospinal Axons Innervate Phenotypically Appropriate Neurons within Neural Stem Cell Grafts

Hiromi Kumamaru, Paul Lu, Ephron S. Rosenzweig, Ken Kadoya, Mark H. Tuszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Neural progenitor cell grafts form new relays across sites of spinal cord injury (SCI). Using a panel of neuronal markers, we demonstrate that spinal neural progenitor grafts to sites of rodent SCI adopt diverse spinal motor and sensory interneuronal fates, representing most neuronal subtypes of the intact spinal cord, and spontaneously segregate into domains of distinct cell clusters. Host corticospinal motor axons regenerating into neural progenitor grafts innervate appropriate pre-motor interneurons, based on trans-synaptic tracing with herpes simplex virus. A human spinal neural progenitor cell graft to a non-human primate also received topographically appropriate corticospinal axon regeneration. Thus, grafted spinal neural progenitor cells give rise to a variety of neuronal progeny that are typical of the normal spinal cord; remarkably, regenerating injured adult corticospinal motor axons spontaneously locate appropriate motor domains in the heterogeneous, developing graft environment, without a need for additional exogenous guidance. Kumamaru et al. demonstrate that spinal cord neural progenitor cell grafts spontaneously segregate into motor and sensory domains when implanted into sites of spinal cord injury in rats and primates. Host corticospinal axons regenerating into grafts preferentially regenerate and synapse onto motor interneuron-rich domains, avoiding inappropriate sensory domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2329-2339.e4
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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