Spinal cord reconstitution with homologous neural grafts enables robust corticospinal regeneration

Ken Kadoya, Paul Lu, Kenny Nguyen, Corinne Lee-Kubli, Hiromi Kumamaru, Lin Yao, Joshua Knackert, Gunnar Poplawski, Jennifer N. Dulin, Hans Strobl, Yoshio Takashima, Jeremy Biane, James Conner, Su Chun Zhang, Mark H. Tuszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Citations (Scopus)


The corticospinal tract (CST) is the most important motor system in humans, yet robust regeneration of this projection after spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been accomplished. In murine models of SCI, we report robust corticospinal axon regeneration, functional synapse formation and improved skilled forelimb function after grafting multipotent neural progenitor cells into sites of SCI. Corticospinal regeneration requires grafts to be driven toward caudalized (spinal cord), rather than rostralized, fates. Fully mature caudalized neural grafts also support corticospinal regeneration. Moreover, corticospinal axons can emerge from neural grafts and regenerate beyond the lesion, a process that is potentially related to the attenuation of the glial scar. Rat corticospinal axons also regenerate into human donor grafts of caudal spinal cord identity. Collectively, these findings indicate that spinal cord 'replacement' with homologous neural stem cells enables robust regeneration of the corticospinal projection within and beyond spinal cord lesion sites, achieving a major unmet goal of SCI research and offering new possibilities for clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
JournalNature medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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