Delayed olfactory ensheathing cell transplants reduce nociception after dorsal root injury

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Experimental Neurology, 2011, 229 (1), pp. 143 - 157
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Injury to cervical dorsal roots mimics the deafferentation component of brachial plexus injury in humans, with intractable neuropathic pain in the deafferented limb being a common consequence. Such lesions are generally not amenable to surgical repair. The use of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) for dorsal root repair, via acute transplantation, has been successful in several studies. From a clinical point of view, delayed transplantation of OECs would provide a more realistic timeframe for repair. In this study we investigated the effect of delayed OEC transplantation on functional recovery of skilled forepaw movements and amelioration of neuropathic pain, using a C7 and C8 dorsal root injury rat model previously established in our lab. We found that OEC transplantation to the dorsal horn 1. week after root injury effectively attenuated neuropathic disturbances associated with dorsal root injury, including spontaneous pain behavior, tactile allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. The sensory controls of complex, goal-oriented skilled reaching and ladder walking, however, were not improved by delayed OEC transplantation. We did not detect any significant influence of transplanted OECs on injury-induced central reorganisation and afferent sprouting. The anti-nociceptive effect mediated by OEC transplants may therefore be explained by alternative mechanisms such as modification of inflammation and astrogliosis. The significant effect of OEC transplants in mitigating neuropathic pain may be clinically useful in intractable pain syndromes arising from deafferentation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Understanding olfactory ensheathing glia and their prospect for nervous system repair. © 2010.
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