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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Experimental Neurology, Volume 286, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 268-275.

The published version is available at Copyright © Elsevier


The therapeutic benefit of cell transplantation has been assessed in a host of central nervous system (CNS) diseases, including disorders of the spinal cord such as traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). The promise of cell transplantation to preserve and/or restore normal function can be aimed at a variety of therapeutic mechanisms, including replacement of lost or damaged CNS cell types, promotion of axonal regeneration or sprouting, neuroprotection, immune response modulation, and delivery of gene products such as neurotrophic factors, amongst other possibilities. Despite significant work in the field of transplantation in models of SCI, limited attention has been directed at harnessing the therapeutic potential of cell grafting for preserving respiratory function after SCI, despite the critical role pulmonary compromise plays in patient outcome in this devastating disease. Here, we will review the limited number of studies that have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of intraspinal transplantation of a variety of cell types for addressing respiratory dysfunction in SCI.

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