Website: Michael Fehlings' Profile
Department: Surgery, University of Toronto
Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurological disorder that can affect anyone instantly. The mechanical insult of SCI rarely culminates in a complete transection of the cord. Rather, the majority of SCIs maintain a sub-population of demyelinated axons within the subpial rim of white matter. Moreover, the resulting secondary apoptotic loss of oligodendrocytes limits endogenous myelin repair and axonal conduction within the injured spinal cord. Our laboratory is interested in assessing the feasibility of transplanting adult brain-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs) as a regenerative medicine/cell replacement therapy to promote myelin repair and enhanced neurological recovery following experimental SCI. We have demonstrated that NPC survival and migration following sub-acute (2 weeks) post-SCI transplantation results in notable survival and migration in comparison to chronic NPC transplantation. Furthermore, surviving NPCs differentiate into oligodendrocytes that express myelin basic protein, ensheath axons and improved neurobehavioral recovery. Additional work in our laboratory has shown NPC transplantation promotes myelination of congenitally dysmyelinated axons, reconstruction of the nodes of Ranvier and enhancement axonal conduction. Currently we are actively investigating non-myelinating affects of NPC transplantation and examining combinatorial strategies using tissue engineering and neuroprotective strategies.
Recent Stem Cell Publications:
Karimi-Abdolrezaee S, Eftekharpour E, Wang J, Schut D, Fehlings MG. Synergistic effects of transplanted adult neural stem/progenitor cells, chondroitinase, and growth factors promote functional repair and plasticity of the chronically injured spinal cord. J Neurosci 2010; 30(5):1657-76.>
Salewski RPF, Eftekharpour E, Fehlings MG.Are induced pluripotent stem cells the future of cell-based regenerative therapies for spinal cord injury? J Cell Physiol 2010;222(3): 515-21.
Hawryluk GWJ, Fehlings MG. The center of the spinal cord may be central to its repair. Cell Stem Cell 2008;3(3):230-2.