Working with Drs. Richard and Mary Bartlett Bunge (The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami), we were among the first to transplant Schwann cells (SCs) into the injured spinal cord to promote axonal regeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI). This earlier work, along with others, provided the scientific rationale for the clinical trial of autologous SC transplantation in human SCI patients being conducted at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami. Currently, my laboratory has been testing combinatorial strategies involving SC transplantation, delivery of trophic factors, and removal of glial scar to enhance the survival, regeneration, and recovery of function in animal models of SCI and to translate these strategies to pre-clinical settings.
- Xu XM, Guénard V, Kleitman N, and Bunge MB (1995a) Axonal regeneration into Schwann cell-seeded guidance channels grafted into transected adult rat spinal cord. J Comp Neurol 351:145-160.
- Xu XM, Guénard V, Kleitman N, Bunge MB (1995b) A combination of BDNF and NT-3 promotes supraspinal axonal regeneration into Schwann cell grafts in adult rat thoracic spinal cord. Exp Neurol134:261-272.
- Zhang L, Ma Z, Smith GM, Wen X, Pressman Y, Wood PM, Xu X-M* (2009) GDNF-enhanced axonal regeneration and myelination following spinal cord injury is mediated by primary effects on neurons. Glia 57:1178-1191.
- Deng L, Deng P, Ruan Y, XuZC, Liu N, Wen X, Smith GM, Xu X-M* (2013) A novel growth-promoting pathway formed by GDNF-overexpressing Schwann cells promotes propriospinal axonal regeneration, synapse formation, and partial recovery of function after spinal cord injury. J Neurosci 33:5655-5667.