Thanks to advances in the stem cell biology of the central nervous system (CNS), the previously inconceivable regeneration of the damaged CNS is approaching reality. The availability of signals to induce the appropriate differentiation of the transplanted and/or endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) as well as the timing of the transplantation are important for successful functional recovery of the damaged CNS. Because the immediately post-traumatic microenvironment of the spinal cord is in an acute inflammatory stage, it is not favorable for the survival and differentiation of NSC transplants. On the other hand, in the chronic stage after injury, glial scars form in the injured site that inhibit the regeneration of neuronal axons. Thus, we believe that the optimal timing of transplantation is 1-2 weeks after injury.
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