Noninvasive Bioluminescence Imaging of Olfactory Ensheathing Glia and Schwann Cells following Transplantation into the Lesioned Rat Spinal Cord
In this study, we assess the feasibility of bioluminescence imaging to monitor the survival of Schwann cells (SCs) and olfactory ensheathing glia cells (OECs) after implantation in the lesioned spinal cord of adult rats. To this end, purified SCs and OECs were genetically modified with lentiviral vectors encoding Luciferase-2 and GFP and implanted in the lesioned dorsal column. The bioluminescent signal was monitored for over three months and at 7 and 98 days post surgery, the signal was
... e signal was compared to standard histological analysis of GFP expression in the spinal cords. The temporal profile of the bioluminescent signal showed three distinct phases for both cell types. (I) A relatively stable signal in the first week. (II) A progressive decline in signal strength in the second and third week. (III) After the third week, the average bioluminescent signal stabilized for both cell types. Interestingly, in the first week, the peak of the bioluminescent signal after luciferin injection was delayed when compared to later time points. Similar to in vitro, our data indicated a linear relationship between the in vivo bioluminescent signal and the GFP signal of the SCs and OECs in the spinal cords when the results of both the 7 and 98 day time points are combined. This is the first report of the use of in vivo bioluminescence to monitor cell survival in the lesioned rat spinal cord. Bioluminescence could be a potentially powerful, non-invasive strategy to examine the efficacy of treatments that aim to improve the survival of proregenerative cells transplanted in the injured rat spinal cord.