Our GFP-Labeled Human Brian Pericytes were used by Spinal Cord Injury Researchers to evaluate the efficacy of aligned microvessels to induce and control directional axon growth from neural progenitor cells in vitro and host axons in a rat spinal cord injury model. Interstitial fluid flow aligned microvessels generated from co-cultures of cerebral-derived endothelial cells and pericytes in a three-dimensional scaffold. Paul P. Partyka, Ying Jin, Julien Bouyer, Angelica DaSilva, George A. Godsey, Robert G. Nagele, Itzhak Fischer & Peter A. Galie (2019). Harnessing neurovascular interaction to guide axon growth. Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 2190. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-38558-y
Axon guidance at the site of a cervical spinal cord injury in a rat model. (Ai) Schematic illustrating transplantation of scaffold into a C-4 hemisection. The injury cavity is shown prior to (ii) and immediately following (iii) transplantation. (Bi) Scaffold conditioned with flow exhibits viable GFP-labeled microvessels (green) (ii) and alignment of host axons (magenta) infiltrating the scaffold in the rostral-caudal direction (grey arrow). (C) Scaffold conditioned in static conditions showing disrupted alignment of both microvessels (ii) and host axons (iii). (D–F) Microvessel and axon plots showing alignment (D,E) and length (F). Scale bars, 1 mm (Aii,Aiii) and 50 μm (B,C). Data are presented as mean ± s.e.m. ***P < 0.001; statistical significance was calculated using Welch Two Sample t-test. White arrows denote proximity of axons with microvessels. Microvessel alignment values (n = 30), axon alignment values (n = 30), microvessel length values (n = 15), and axon length values (n = 15) are from single hydrogel samples per condition.The authors conclude aligned microvessels have the dual benefit of providing the basis for a vascular bed within the scaffold to promote cell survival and directing the growth of regenerating axons. Future studies will evaluate the functional benefit resulting from delivery of this multifunctional treatment strategy in various models of CNS injury.