Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and Repair

Spinal cord injury results in permanent injury of axons, neurons and glial cells. Regrowth of axons is essential to repair and functional recovery of the spinal cord. Tissue destruction with cysts and gliosis at the site of injury forms a barrier to regeneration.

We are using tissue engineering with biodegradable polymer scaffolds (PLGA, PCLF, OPF) loaded with different growth-promoting cells (Schwann cells, neural progenitor cells, mesenchymal stem cells) and different growth factors (GDNF, NT3, BDNF) to bridge the gap, and to promote axonal regeneration and functional restoration in the spinal cord of rats and mice, eventually for future use in patients.

We are investigating the effects of exercise training and local delivery of steroids on the axon regeneration and functional recovery of SCI animals. In addition to the transection model, we developed hemisection and contusion models in studies of SCI mechanism.

Project Personnel

  • Bingkun K. Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Mahrokh Dadsetan, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey S. Hakim
  • Ann M. Schmeichel
  • Anthony J. Windebank, M.D.
  • Michael J. Yaszemski, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Shuya Zhang