King, V. R.; Phillips, J. B.; Hunt-Grubbe, H; Brown, R. and Priestley, J. V.
Characterization of non-neuronal elements within fibronectin mats implanted into the damaged adult rat spinal cord.
Previous studies have shown that mats made from fibronectin (FN) integrate well into spinal cord lesion sites and support extensive axonal growth. Using immunohistochemistry, we have investigated the non-neuronal factors that contribute to these properties. Extensive vascularization was observed in FN mats by 1 week along with heavy macrophage infiltration by 3 days post-implantation. By 1 week post-implantation, laminin tubules had formed and were associated with axons and p75 immunoreactive Schwann cells. By 4 weeks post-implantation, most axons were associated with Schwann cell derived myelin. Few oligodendrocytes were present within the mat, even with an increase in the number of oligodendrocyte precursors around the implant site by 7 days post-implantation. Astrocyte proliferation also occurred in the intact tissue, with a prominent glial scar forming around the implant within 4 weeks. However, by 2 months post-implantation astrocytes were present in the FN implant site and were intermingled with the axons. Axonal ingrowth and integration of the FN mats is probably due to the ability of FN mats to support and organize infiltration of Schwann cells and deposition of laminin. At later time points, myelinated axons remain in the implant site, even after other elements (e.g. macrophages and laminin) have disappeared. Both of these properties are likely to be important in the design of biomaterial bridges for CNS regeneration.
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