VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023

Graduate Student Research Biomedical

16 Stem Cells in Blast-Induced Spinal Cord Injury

Valarie Zanin; Laurel Romano; Michael Reymundi Pabon; Ananya Seth; Carly Norris; Pamela VandeVord; Kelly Roballo PhD Corresponding author:

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Virginia Campus Bluefield University and Virginia Tech University

Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects 17,700 new individuals each year in the United States. The incidence in civilians is 1 per 20,000 individuals per year. Military personnel are most likely to have severe SCI resulting from non-penetrating blasts and most of these blast-induced SCI are associated with the thoracolumbar spine, however this type of injury also can occur in civilians. Thus, suitable close injury blast SCI animal models that re-create injuries similar to those seen in humans are vital to better understand the pathophysiology of injury and can be used to test potential treatment interventions. In this project we used the close blast SCI model to evaluate the resident stem cell migration into the injury. Since, the

location of stem cells within a potential ballistic spinal cord injury could show that there is regeneration that would allow for healing within an injury. The ballistic model of spinal cord injuries was reviewed for male rats with spinal cord injuries in the thoracic region with the time of 24 to 72 hours. Immunofluorescence stain for vimentin was used in order to locate the ectoderm stem cells within the localized spinal cord injury while the immunofluorescence stain nestin was used in order to locate more specific neural stem cells within the spinal cord injury. Seventeen samples of spinal cords were blocked on slides with vimentin and nestin immunofluorescence added to each sample. The samples were then analyzed under

a fluorescence microscope and stem cells quantified. Quantification showed positive cells for vimentin and nestin in all blast injured SC, and just fewer cells in the control groups, furthermore we observed double positive cells vimentin and nestin in all blast samples. Understanding the behavior of resident neural and ectoderm stem cells in this SCI closed model will allow us to potential think about a stem cell treatment for individuals with this type of injury.


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