VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023
Medical Student Research Biomedical
26 Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Spinal Cord Following Blast Injury in Rats
The prevalence of spinal cord injuries (SCIs) in the US is estimated to be 282,000, with an incidence of about 17,000 new cases per year. Military members are estimated to make up a disproportionate amount of these SCIs with about 42,000 veterans affected. The SCIs suffered in the military tend to be more severe due to the most common mechanisms of injury: gunshot wounds and explosive blasts. Characterizing the body’s response to each mechanism of SCI may prove important for developing novel therapies. Specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of particular interest in proposed therapies for SCI and regenerative medicine due to their relative ease of isolation, ease of storage, ability to “home” to the site of injury, as well as their anti-inflammatory, Josiah Thomas; Carly Norris; Pamela VandeVord; Kelly Roballo Corresponding author: Jthomas04@vt.vcom.edu Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Virginia Campus Virginia Tech
hypoimmunogenic, and antiangiogenic properties. While there are many methods used to experimentally simulate different mechanisms of SCI in animal models, there are fewer methods used to simulate blast injuries with closed injury sites. This experiment partnered with the Traumatic Nerve Technologies Lab at Virginia Tech to simulate blast injuries in the thoracic region of male rats. We then quantified the number of MSCs present in longitudinal sections of spinal cord taken from mice at time points 24 hours and 72 hours following simulated blast injury. Mesenchymal stem cells were identified by staining the sections with immunofluorescent tags for CD90 and CD105 and observing the cells under a microscope. Results showed statistically significant
increases in numbers of MSCs present in blast-injured tissue versus uninjured controls at both 24 hours and 72 hours post injury. The presence of MSCs during the acute phase of injury may be useful knowledge for proposed therapeutic approaches in the future.
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