Enhancing the Therapeutic Potential of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells in Spinal Cord Repair Using Neurotrophins

A. A. Wright, M. Todorovic, J. Tello-Velasquez, A. J. Rayfield, J. A. St John, J. A. Ekberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Autologous olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC) transplantation is a promising therapy for spinal cord injury; however, the efficacy varies between trials in both animals and humans. The main reason for this variability is that the purity and phenotype of the transplanted cells differs between studies. OECs are susceptible to modulation with neurotrophic factors, and thus, neurotrophins can be used to manipulate the transplanted cells into an optimal, consistent phenotype. OEC transplantation can be divided into 3 phases: (1) cell preparation, (2) cell administration, and (3) continuous support to the transplanted cells in situ. The ideal behaviour of OECs differs between these 3 phases; in the cell preparation phase, rapid cell expansion is desirable to decrease the time between damage and transplantation. In the cell administration phase, OEC survival and integration at the injury site, in particular migration into the glial scar, are the most critical factors, along with OEC-mediated phagocytosis of cellular debris. Finally, continuous support needs to be provided to the transplantation site to promote survival of both transplanted cells and endogenous cells within injury site and to promote long-term integration of the transplanted cells and angiogenesis. In this review, we define the 3 phases of OEC transplantation into the injured spinal cord and the optimal cell behaviors required for each phase. Optimising functional outcomes of OEC transplantation can be achieved by modulation of cell behaviours with neurotrophins. We identify the key growth factors that exhibit the strongest potential for optimizing the OEC phenotype required for each phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-878
Number of pages12
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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