Intrathecal transplantation of embryonic stem cell-derived spinal GABAergic neural precursor cells attenuates neuropathic pain in a spinal cord injury rat model

Insik Hwang, Suk Chan Hahm, Kyung Ah Choi, Sung Ho Park, Hyesun Jeong, Ji Hye Yea, Junesun Kim, Sunghoi Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating disease characterized by spontaneous pain such as hyperalgesia and allodynia. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of ESC-derived spinal GABAergic neurons to treat neuropathic pain in a SCI rat model. Mouse embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursor cells (mESC-NPCs) were cultured in media supplemented with sonic hedgehog (SHH) and retinoic acid (RA) and efficiently differentiated into GABAergic neurons. Interestingly, low doses of SHH and RA induced MGE-like progenitors, which expressed low levels of DARPP32 and Nkx2.1 and high levels of Irx3 and Pax6. These cells subsequently generated the majority of the DARPP32− GABAergic neurons after in vitro differentiation. The spinal mESC-NPCs were intrathecally transplanted into the lesion area of the spinal cord around T10-T11 at 21 days after SCI. The engrafted spinal GABAergic neurons remarkably increased both the paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) below the level of the lesion and the vocalization threshold (VT) to the level of the lesion (T12, T11, and T10 vertebrae), which indicates attenuation of chronic neuropathic pain by the spinal GABAergic neurons. The transplanted cells were positive for GABA antibody staining in the injured region, and cells migrated to the injured spinal site and survived for more than 7 weeks in L4-L5. The mESC-NPC-derived spinal GABAergic neurons dramatically attenuated the chronic neuropathic pain following SCI, suggesting that the spinal GABAergic mESC-NPCs cultured with low doses of SHH and RA could be alternative cell sources for treatment of SCI neuropathic pain by stem cell-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
JournalCell Transplantation
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Intrathecal transplantation
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Spinal GABAergic neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Biomedical Engineering

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