The microsurgery and transplantation facility (established in 2009)
The recently established microsurgery and transplantation platform has started being used by an increasing number of HPI researchers for in vivo and ex vivo gene therapy and cell transplantation approaches. The platform consists of digital stereotaxic apparatuses and nanoliter injectors, spinal cord compression device, electro-coagulation apparatus and stereo-surgioscope and is currently being used for gene therapy (with the direct injection of recombinant lentiviral vectors) and cell therapy protocols (with the transplantation of genetically modified cells) in animal models of neurological disorders (see list below). Disease progression in the animals and transduced cells’ fate is monitored by advanced imaging techniques – including live cell imaging – already developed in the Imaging Unit of HPI. Additionally, motor recovery of traumatized animals is followed using motor behaviour tests performed in the platform, including Rotarod test, open-field test, and paw-inking test. Successful experiments with transplantation of genetically-modified mouse Schwann cells in the spinal cord injury model and embryonic mouse NSC in the brain trauma model have already been achieved while transplantation of human Schwann cells into the spinal cord of immuno-compromised mice is in progress. The platform is directly linked to the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology and the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics.
The animal models of neurological disorders developed until now in the HPI-MTP include:
- Motor cortex, spinal cord and sciatic nerve traumas
- The model of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), the rodents’ model of Parkinson’s disease
- Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), the animal model of focal ischemic stroke