In most diseases of the spinal cord, demyelination plays an important role in the generation and progression of the neurodegenerative lesion. Despite the fact that the spinal cord shows potential for regeneration, this is limited and apparently insufficient for repair and attempts to establish regenerative approaches by neural stem cell transplantation have been so far only partially successful. We have recently described that Leptomeninges of the spinal cord are a niche for neural stem cells (Decimo et al, 2011). These Leptomeningeal Stem Cells (LeSCs) are endowed with self-renewal properties and can differentiate into neurons and oligodendrocytes when stimulated with the appropriate factors. Considering that remyelinization may be a realistic and efficient goal for transplantation-based regenerative therapies of the spinal cord, we decided to define conditions for efficient and high-yield generation of precursor and differentiated cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage. In conclusion, we have established an efficient and reproducible method to generate large numbers of cells of oligodendrocyte-lineage at different and controlled levels of differentiation. Testing of remyelinization efficiency by different sets of cells will be performed in vitro and by transplantation experiments in vivo using animal models of traumatic lesion of the spinal cord and of multiple sclerosis.
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