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Journal of Neurorestoratology  2021, Vol. 9 Issue (2): 106-116    doi: 10.26599/JNR.2021.9040009
Research Article     
Ten years of clinical observation of olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation in patients with spinal cord injury
Zhijian Cheng1,Rui Wang1,2,Kai Cao1,Guoyu Wang1,Jie Qin1,Haopeng Li1,Jiaxi Li1,Dong Wang1,(✉)(),Xijing He1,3,(✉)()
1Second Department of Orthopedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710004, Shaanxi, China
2Department of Orthopaedics, Postdoctoral Research Center, Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, Xi'an 710075, Shaanxi, China
3Xi’an International Medical Center Hospital, Xi’an 710100, Shaanxi, China
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Abstract  Objective:

To evaluate the long-term curative efficacy and safety of olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC) transplantation by 10 years of follow-up investigation.


A follow-up observation was done on 13 patients with allograft olfactory bulb-derived OEC transplantation from September 2005 to September 2007 at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University. After cell purification, amplification, and identification, a 2 × 107/mL cell suspension was prepared for transplantation. In the posterior horn of the spinal cord 0.5 cm distal and proximal to the spinal cord injury zone, 4 needle points were selected to avoid the blood vessels. The needle depth was 3 mm, and the injection volume per point was 10 μL. Postoperatively and at 1 week, 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years after the surgery, the patient’s American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) score, adverse reactions, and other minor observations were assessed.


All the patients did not have serious complications. No gliomas or other new organisms formed during the 10-year observation period. Eight of 13 patients had improvement in sensory function, and 5 patients showed improvement in motor function. The ASIA acupuncture, light touch, and exercise scores improved significantly 1 year after the surgery, and this improvement continued until the 10-year follow-up period. Three of 13 patients had improvement in defecation and urination, and 1 patient had improved neuralgia after spinal cord injury.


OEC transplantation is safe and effective in treating spinal cord injury. The observation period of OEC transplantation is 1 to 3 years.

Key wordsspinal cord injury      olfactory ensheathing cells      cell transplantation      clinical observation      retrospective analysis     
Received: 09 May 2021      Published: 19 October 2021
Fund:  National Natural Science Foundation of China(81801237);National Key Research and Development Project of the People′s Republic of China(2018YFE0114200);This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81801237), and National Key Research and Development Project of the People′s Republic of China (Grant No. 2018YFE0114200).
Corresponding Authors: Dong Wang,Xijing He     E-mail:;
Cite this article:

Zhijian Cheng,Rui Wang,Kai Cao,Guoyu Wang,Jie Qin,Haopeng Li,Jiaxi Li,Dong Wang,Xijing He. Ten years of clinical observation of olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation in patients with spinal cord injury. Journal of Neurorestoratology, 2021, 9: 106-116.

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Fig. 1Characterization of OECs in vitro. (A) Phase of OECs. (B) Immunofluorescent staining of the OEC marker p75 (red). Nuclei in (B) were stained with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (blue). Scale bar = 200 μm.
Fig. 2Schematic diagram of OEC transplantation.
1 day1 week4 weeks12 weeks24 weeks1 year3 years5 years10 years
Motor40.8 ± 9.240.1 ± 9.441.1 ± 8.941.1 ± 8.941.3 ± 9.141.2 ± 9.041.7 ± 8.841.7 ± 8.641.7 ± 8.841.5 ± 8.9
Pinprick42.4 ± 14.042.6 ± 13.744.5 ± 13.944.3 ± 13.844.8 ± 13.545.3 ± 13.045.5 ± 12.845.5 ± 13.045.6 ± 12.945.5 ± 13.0
Light touch41.5 ± 15.441.7 ± 15.442.5 ± 15.242.8 ± 15.142.9 ± 15.343.2 ± 15.243.4 ± 15.343.5 ± 15.243.6 ± 15.343.5 ± 15.2
Table 1ASIA scores of patients receiving OEC transplantation at different observation time points.
No.SensoryMotorBladder and bowel functionSelf-evaluation
Table 2Comparison of patients’ improvement preoperatively and postoperatively.
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