Stem Cells in Canine Spinal Cord Injury – Promise for Regenerative Therapy in a Large Animal Model of Human Disease

Barbara G. McMahill, Dori L Borjesson, Maya Sieber-Blum, Jan Nolta, Beverly Sturges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The use of cell transplantation for spinal cord injury is a rapidly evolving field in regenerative medicine. Numerous animal models are currently being used. However, translation to human patients is still a challenging step. Dogs are of increasing importance as a translational model for human disease since there is a greater awareness of the need to increase the quality of preclinical data. The use of dogs ultimately brings benefit to both human and veterinary medicine. In this review we analyze experimental and clinical studies using cell transplantation for canine spinal cord injury. Overall, in experimental studies, transplantation groups showed improvement over control groups. Improvements were measured at the functional, electrophysiological, histological, RNA and protein levels. Most clinical studies support beneficial effects of cell transplantation despite the fact that methodological limitations preclude definitive conclusions. However, the mechanisms of action and underlying the behavior of transplanted cells in the injured spinal cord remain unclear. Overall, we conclude here that stem cell interventions are a promising avenue for the treatment of spinal cord injury. Canines are a promising model that may help bridge the gap between translational research and human clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages14
JournalStem Cell Reviews and Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Dog
  • Large Animal Model
  • Regeneration
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Stem cell
  • Translation
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology


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