We examined the distribution of hippocampus-derived neural stem cells on the spinal cord surface for up to 3 weeks following injection through the fourth ventricle. The injected cells were disseminated as tiny spots on the pia mater of the spinal cord and proliferated into large cell-clusters. On both the dorsal and ventral side, cell clusters increased in number rapidly up to 5 days after injection and thereafter decreased gradually due to the coalition of neighbouring clusters. Concomitantly, individual cell clusters continuously increased in size, occupying almost 50% of the spinal cord surface. Cell attachment was usually found around blood vessels, along which cells invaded into the spinal cord. In the injured site, cells migrated into the lesion and were integrated into the spinal cord tissue, some of which had differentiated into astrocytes 1-2 weeks after injection. BrdU-uptake experiments demonstrated that the transplanted cells proliferated within the host cerebrospinal fluid. These results indicate that application of neural stem cells through the ventricle is an effective method to disseminate cells all over the spinal cord and that they can migrate and be integrated into the injured spinal cord.
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