Neural Stem Cells Overexpressing Arginine Decarboxylase Improve Functional Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury in a Mouse Model

Yu Mi Park, Jae Hwan Kim, Jong Eun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Current therapeutic strategies for spinal cord injury (SCI) cannot fully facilitate neural regeneration or improve function. Arginine decarboxylase (ADC) synthesizes agmatine, an endogenous primary amine with neuroprotective effects. Transfection of human ADC (hADC) gene exerts protective effects after injury in murine brain-derived neural precursor cells (mNPCs). Following from these findings, we investigated the effects of hADC-mNPC transplantation in SCI model mice. Mice with experimentally damaged spinal cords were divided into three groups, separately transplanted with fluorescently labeled (1) control mNPCs, (2) retroviral vector (pLXSN)-infected mNPCs (pLXSN-mNPCs), and (3) hADC-mNPCs. Behavioral comparisons between groups were conducted weekly up to 6 weeks after SCI, and urine volume was measured up to 2 weeks after SCI. A subset of animals was euthanized each week after cell transplantation for molecular and histological analyses. The transplantation groups experienced significantly improved behavioral function, with the best recovery occurring in hADC-mNPC mice. Transplanting hADC-mNPCs improved neurological outcomes, induced oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination, increased neural lineage differentiation, and decreased glial scar formation. Moreover, locomotor and bladder function were both rehabilitated. These beneficial effects are likely related to differential BMP-2/4/7 expression in neuronal cells, providing an empirical basis for gene therapy as a curative SCI treatment option.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15784
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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