Effects of photobiomodulation combined with MSCs transplantation on the repair of spinal cord injury in rat.

Affiliation

Chen H(1)(2), Wang Y(1), Tu W(1)(3), Wang H(1)(3), Yin H(4), Sha H(4), Li Y(4).
Author information:
(1)School of Life Sciences, Tiangong University, Tianjin, China.
(2)Academy of Medical Engineering and Translational Medicine, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China.
(3)Institute of Radiation Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Science & Peking Union Medical College, Tianjin, China.
(4)Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Science & Peking Union Medical College, Tianjin, China.

Abstract

Stem cell transplantation has shown promising regenerative effects against neural injury, and photobiomodulation (PBM) can aid tissue recovery. This study aims to evaluate the therapeutic effect of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUCMSCs) and laser alone or combined on spinal cord injury (SCI). The animals were divided into SCI, hUCMSCs, laser treatment (LASER) and combination treatment (hUCMSCs + LASER) groups. Cell-enriched grafts of hUCMSCs (1 × 106 cells/ml) were injected at the site of antecedent trauma in SCI model rats. A 2 cm2 damaged area was irradiated with 630 nm laser at 100 mW/cm2 power for 20 min. Locomotion was evaluated using Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) scores, and neurofilament repair were monitored by histological staining and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). First, after SCI, the motor function of each group was restored with different degrees, the combination treatment significantly increased the BBB scores compared to either monotherapy. In addition, Nissl bodies were more numerous, and the nerve fibers were longer and thicker in the combination treatment group. Consistent with this, the in situ expression of NF-200 and glial fibrillary acidic protein in the damaged area was the highest in the combination treatment group. Finally, DTI showed that the combination therapy optimally improved neurofilament structure and arrangement. These results may show that the combination of PBM and hUCMSCs transplantation is a feasible strategy for reducing secondary damage and promoting functional recovery following SCI.