Newswise — NEW ORLEANS (April 30, 2013) — Today during the 81st American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers presented results showing the positive impact that bone marrow stromal cell (MSC) therapy can have for those suffering from certain types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The study investigated the effects of treatment with bone MSC on axonal sprouting in the spinal cord after TBI. The axonal regeneration that occurred was correlated with functional recovery. Researchers used adult male Wistar rats (n=8), which were injured with controlled cortical impact and treated with MSCs (3x10 6) impregnated into collagen scaffolds and transplanted into the lesion cavity one week after TBI. Control animals (n=8) were injected intracerebrally with saline. On day 21 after TBI, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA, 10,000 MW) was injected into the collateral motor cortex stereotactically to label the corticospinal tract (CST). Sensorimotor function was tested with neurological severity scores (NSS) and foot fault tests. All rats were sacrificed 35 days after TBI, with the brain and spinal cord sections stained for immuhohistological analysis. The results of this study, Treatment of traumatic brain injury with marrow stromal cells induces axonal sprouting in denervated spinal cord, will be presented by Asim Mahmood, MD, FAANS, from 10:52-11:03 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30. Co-authors are Hongtao Wu, MD; Changsheng Qu, MD; and Ye Xiong, MD.

Those results found very few BDA-labeled CST fibers crossing over the midline in the spinal cord transverse sections of the control rats. However, MSC treatment significantly increased axonal sprouting from the intact CST into the denervated side of the spinal cord at both the cervical and lumbar levels (p, less than 0.05). Functional analysis showed significant improvement with NSS (p, less than 0.05) and foot fault tests (p, less than 0.05) in MSC-treated rats. Pearson’s correlation data showed significant correlation between the number of crossing CST fibers and sensorimotor recovery (p, less than 0.05). The researchers concluded that MSC treatment increases axonal sprouting into the denervated side of the spinal cord after TBI, and this is at least partially responsible for the therapeutic benefits of MSC treatment of TBI.

“We have conducted several studies, short- and long-term, which showed very significant sensorimotor recovery,” said Asim Mahmood, MD, FAANS, who cited 11 different studies [available upon request from John Iwanski]. “We used multimodality testing to analyze different neurological functions such as learning, memory, (Moris water maze test) and sensorimotor function (NSS and foot fault tests), and recovery was shown consistently. Further studies are not needed to substantiate the functional benefits of this therapy. What is still needed are mechanistic studies to investigate how the MSC treatment promotes functional recovery, and this is what our present research focuses on.”

“Our data clearly shows that MSC treatment improves functional outcome and repairs biostructural damage resulting from TBI,” added Dr. Mahmood. “This is translation research and clinical trials can be designed to use MSCs to treat TBI. MSC treatment has already been used in cardiovascular medicine.”

Disclosure: The author reported no conflicts of interest.

Media Representatives: The 2013 AANS Annual Meeting Press Kit includes releases on highlighted scientific research, AANS officer and award winners, National Neurosurgery Awareness Week, and other relevant information about this year’s program. Those releases also will be posted under the Media area on the 2013 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting website ( Meeting/2013/Main/Media.aspx). If you have interest in a topic related to neurosurgery or would like to interview a neurosurgeon — either on-site or via telephone — during this year’s event, please contact John Iwanski, AANS Director of Member and Public Outreach, via the onsite press room at (504) 670-4910 or e-mail him at [email protected].

About the 2013 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: Attended by neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, neuroscience nurses, clinical specialists, physician assistants, allied health professionals and other medical professionals, the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting is the largest gathering of neurosurgeons in the nation, with an emphasis on the field’s latest research and technological advances. A record-breaking 1,003 scientific abstracts were presented for review at the 2013 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, and the scientific presentations given at this year’s event represent cutting-edge examples of the incredible developments taking place within the field of neurosurgery. Additional information about the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and the Meeting Program can be found at Meeting/2013/Main/Home.aspx.

Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association with nearly 8,300 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery in order to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to the public. All active members of the AANS are certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Neurosurgery) of Canada or the Mexican Council of Neurological Surgery, AC. Neurological surgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the entire nervous system including the spinal column, spinal cord, brain and peripheral nerves. For more information, visit