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P25 Hydrogel systems to enhance the delivery of cell therapy for traumatic spinal cord injury
  1. RD Bartlett1,
  2. JB Phillips1,
  3. D Choi2
  1. 1UCL Centre for Nerve Engineering, London, UK
  2. 2The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK


Objectives Cell therapies are an emerging therapeutic approach for spinal cord injury. We assessed the survival and phenotype of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) in hydrogel delivery systems suitable for clinical use.

Design Laboratory study.

Methods Cell survival in different formulations of collagen and fibrin hydrogels was assessed using Syto 9 and propidium iodide. The proportion of cells staining positive for a key repair marker (p75NTR) was also quantified using immunocytochemistry and fluorescence microscopy.

Results There were significant differences in OEC survival between the various collagen and fibrin hydrogel formulations tested (p<0.001 one-way ANOVA, n=17). 10% v/v fibrin conferred the best cell survival with 85% of OECs remaining alive. Incorporating OECs into collagen hydrogels promoted the highest proportion of p75NTR immunopositive cells (78%) and this was significantly higher than both fibrin hydrogels and traditional monolayer culture (53% and 20%, respectively, p<0.0001 one-way ANOVA, n=24).

Conclusions Collagen and fibrin hydrogels both have the potential to enhance the delivery, survival and retention of transplanted OECs for spinal cord repair. Both materials are clinically scalable, promote favourable OEC survival and have the potential to increase the proportion of cells expressing a key repair marker (p75NTR). Optimised hydrogel delivery systems may provide a valuable approach to improve the delivery of OECs for spinal cord repair in the future.

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