The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of methylprednisolone on the proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells (ENSCs) in nonhuman primates with spinal cord injury (SCI).
A total of 14 healthy cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) (4–5 years of age) were randomly divided into 3 groups: the control group (n = 6), SCI group (n = 6), and methylprednisolone therapy group (n = 2). Only laminectomy was performed in the control animals at T-10. SCI was induced in monkeys using Allen’s weight-drop method (50 mm × 50 g) to injure the posterior portion of the spinal cord at T-10. In the methylprednisolone therapy group, monkeys were intravenously infused with methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg) immediately after SCI. All animals were intravenously infused with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) (50 mg/kg/day) for 3 days prior to study end point. The small intestine was dissected for immunohistochemical examination. After 3, 7, and 14 days, the spinal cord segments of the control and SCI groups were dissected to prepare frozen and paraffin sections. The proliferation of ENSCs was evaluated using BrdU and nestin immunofluorescence staining.
Histological examination showed that a larger number of mucosa epithelial cells in the small intestine of all groups were BrdU positive. Nestin-positive ependymal cells are increased around the central canal after SCI. After 3, 7, and 14 days of SCI, BrdU-positive ependymal cells in the SCI group were significantly increased compared with the control group, and the percentage of BrdU-positive cells in the left/right ventral horns and dorsal horn was significantly higher than that of the control group. Seven days after SCI, the percentages of both BrdU-positive ependymal cells around the central canal and BrdU– and nestin–double positive cells in the left/right ventral horns and dorsal horn were significantly lower in the methylprednisolone therapy group than in the SCI group.
While ENSCs proliferate significantly after SCI in nonhuman primates, methylprednisolone can inhibit the proliferation of ependymal cells after SCI.
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