We previously reported that implantation of dendritic cells (DCs) into the injured site activates neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) and promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI) in mice. Working toward clinical application of DC therapy for SCI, we analyzed whether DCs promote functional recovery after SCI in a non-human primate, the common marmoset (CM). CMs are usually born as dizygotic twins. They are thus natural bone marrow and peripheral blood chimeras due to sharing of the placental circulation between dizygotic twins, leading to functional immune tolerance. In this study, to identify adequate CM donor-and-host pairs, mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR) assays were performed. Then, CM-DCs were generated from the bone marrow of the twin selected to be donor and transplanted into the injured site of the spinal cord of the other twin selected to be host, 7 days after injury. Histological analyses revealed fewer areas of demyelination around the injured site in DC-treated CMs than in controls. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that more motor neurons and corticospinal tracts were preserved after SCI in DC-treated CMs. Motor functions were evaluated using three different behavior tests and earlier functional recovery was observed in DC-treated CMs. These results suggest DC therapy to possibly be beneficial in primates with SCI and that this treatment has potential for clinical application.
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