Special Issue "Neural Repair of the Central Nervous System: Stem Cells and Other Approaches"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Stem Cells".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2023) | Viewed by 2833

Special Issue Editor

School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Interests: stem cells; regenerative medicine; epigenetic; single cell transcriptomic analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), including degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, etc.), traumatic injury (spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, etc.), neural vascular diseases (stroke, microvascular ischemic disease, etc.), and brain tumor, are extremely difficult to treat. For over one hundred years, since Santiago Ramon and Cajal stated that ‘‘in the adult centers the nerve paths are something fixed, ended and immutable. Everything may die, nothing may be regenerated’’, the whole neuroscience field has consistently held the belief that CNS repair is incredibly challenging, almost impossible.

Unlike neurons in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which maintain the ability to regenerate their axons, CNS neurons have attenuated intrinsic axonal regeneration power. Moreover, the neuronal external injury microenvironment in the CNS is also much more hostile than that in PNS, filled with inhibitory myelin debris, glial scars, inflammatory cells, and cytokines, all of which are inhibitory not only for axonal regeneration but also for regenerative adult neurogenesis. For many years, the CNS injury repair field has focused on how to enable long-distance axonal regeneration. However, in recent years, the idea of formation or usage of “relay-neural circuits” to resume neural circuitry function through neural plasticity, without long-distance axonal regeneration, has emerged as a more plausible mechanism and feasible repair strategy. Nonetheless, to engage the neural plasticity mechanism, modulation of the injury micro-environment is one of the absolute key factors. In addition, when neuronal loss is extensive, adult neurogenesis from endogenous and/or exogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) to replace lost neurons or to form nascent “relay-neural circuits” could also be indispensable.

In this Special Issue, we will center around CNS neural repair and discuss various potential therapeutic approaches and their underlying mechanisms (modulation of micro-environment, or enabling of adult neurogenesis), with a focus on, but not limited to, stem cell-based therapies, including small molecular drugs, large molecules, biomaterials, etc. The advantages and limitations, as well as the challenges and opportunities of those approaches will be thoroughly explored. We hope to shed new light on new approaches toward neural repair in a frame-shifting manner.

Prof. Dr. Yi E. Sun
Guest Editor

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  • stroke
  • spinal cord injury
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • ALS
  • neural repair
  • neural plasticity
  • CNS inflammation
  • immune cells
  • microenvironment
  • cytokines
  • kinases
  • stem cell therapy
  • neural stem cells
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • microglia
  • astrocytes
  • adult neurogenesis
  • relay circuits
  • BBB
  • vasculature
  • neural trophic

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Application of Multipotent Stem Cells for Spinal Cord Injury
Cells 2023, 12(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12010120 - 28 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2482
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a common neurological disorder with devastating psychical and psychosocial sequelae. The majority of patients after SCI suffer from permanent disability caused by motor dysfunction, impaired sensation, neuropathic pain, spasticity as well as urinary complications, and a small number [...] Read more.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a common neurological disorder with devastating psychical and psychosocial sequelae. The majority of patients after SCI suffer from permanent disability caused by motor dysfunction, impaired sensation, neuropathic pain, spasticity as well as urinary complications, and a small number of patients experience a complete recovery. Current standard treatment modalities of the SCI aim to prevent secondary injury and provide limited recovery of lost neurological functions. Stem Cell Therapy (SCT) represents an emerging treatment approach using the differentiation, paracrine, and self-renewal capabilities of stem cells to regenerate the injured spinal cord. To date, multipotent stem cells including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), neural stem cells (NSCs), and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) represent the most investigated types of stem cells for the treatment of SCI in preclinical and clinical studies. The microenvironment of SCI has a significant impact on the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of transplanted stem cells. Therefore, a deep understanding of the pathophysiology of SCI and molecular mechanisms through which stem cells act may help improve the treatment efficacy of SCT and find new therapeutic approaches such as stem-cell-derived exosomes, gene-modified stem cells, scaffolds, and nanomaterials. In this literature review, the pathogenesis of SCI and molecular mechanisms of action of multipotent stem cells including MSCs, NSCs, and HSCs are comprehensively described. Moreover, the clinical efficacy of multipotent stem cells in SCI treatment, an optimal protocol of stem cell administration, and recent therapeutic approaches based on or combined with SCT are also discussed. Full article
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