Interactions between Schwann and olfactory ensheathing cells with a starch/polycaprolactone scaffold aimed at spinal cord injury repair

Spinal cord injury (SCI) represents a major world health problem. Therefore it is urgent to develop novel strategies that can specifically target it. We have previously shown that the implantation of starch-based scaffolds (SPCL) aimed for spine stabilization on SCI animals leads to motor skills improvements. Therefore, we hypothesize that the combination of these scaffolds with relevant cell populations for SCI repair will, most likely, lead to further improvements. Therefore, in this work, the ability of SPCL scaffolds to support the 3D culture of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and Schwann cells (SCs) was studied and characterized. The results demonstrate for the first time that SPCL scaffolds were able to support the growth and migration of OECs and SCs. Moreover, the results indicate that two weeks of in vitro culture is the ideal time to reach a high number of transplantable cells. Future work will focus on the spine stabilization of SCI animals using SPCL scaffolds loaded with OECs or SCs for SCI regeneration.