Spinal Cord Injury

John W. McDonald, Daniel Becker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on embryonic stem (ES) cells as an important research tool and potential therapy. The chapter reviews studies that have used ES cells in spinal cord repair and concludes that progress has been good, that knowledge is still too limited, and that harnessing the potential of ES cells will be important for solving the problem of spinal cord injury (SCI). SCI is a major medical problem, because there is currently no way to repair the central nervous system (CNS) and restore function. Early animal studies showed that mouse ES cells can replace neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes; instigate appropriate remyelination; and even improve locomotion. As is the case for all transplantation studies, the mechanisms underlying functional improvement remain unclear. ES cells offer a novel approach to deciphering these mechanisms. It is clear that murine and human ES cells are tools that will revolutionize neurobiology and neural transplantation, by providing the unprecedented ability to selectively deliver key regulatory factors. ES cells promise to be one of the greatest therapies for chronic nervous system disorders. It can be said with confidence that ES cells will have a major effect on repairing the human CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEssentials of Stem Cell Biology, Second Edition
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780123747297
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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