Polycistronic Delivery of IL-10 and NT-3 Promotes Oligodendrocyte Myelination and Functional Recovery in a Mouse Spinal Cord Injury Model

Dominique R. Smith, Courtney M. Dumont, Jonghyuck Park, Andrew J. Ciciriello, Amina Guo, Ravindra Tatineni, Brian J. Cummings, Aileen J. Anderson, Lonnie D. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


One million estimated cases of spinal cord injury (SCI) have been reported in the United States and repairing an injury has constituted a difficult clinical challenge. The complex, dynamic, inhibitory microenvironment postinjury, which is characterized by proinflammatory signaling from invading leukocytes and lack of sufficient factors that promote axonal survival and elongation, limits regeneration. Herein, we investigated the delivery of polycistronic vectors, which have the potential to coexpress factors that target distinct barriers to regeneration, from a multiple channel poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) bridge to enhance spinal cord regeneration. In this study, we investigated polycistronic delivery of IL-10 that targets proinflammatory signaling, and NT-3 that targets axonal survival and elongation. A significant increase was observed in the density of regenerative macrophages for IL-10+NT-3 condition relative to conditions without IL-10. Furthermore, combined delivery of IL-10+NT-3 produced a significant increase of axonal density and notably myelinated axons compared with all other conditions. A significant increase in functional recovery was observed for IL-10+NT-3 delivery at 12 weeks postinjury that was positively correlated to oligodendrocyte myelinated axon density, suggesting oligodendrocyte-mediated myelination as an important target to improve functional recovery. These results further support the use of multiple channel PLG bridges as a growth supportive substrate and platform to deliver bioactive agents to modulate the SCI microenvironment and promote regeneration and functional recovery. Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in a complex microenvironment that contains multiple barriers to regeneration and functional recovery. Multiple factors are necessary to address these barriers to regeneration, and polycistronic lentiviral gene therapy represents a strategy to locally express multiple factors simultaneously. A bicistronic vector encoding IL-10 and NT-3 was delivered from a poly(lactide-co-glycolide) bridge, which provides structural support that guides regeneration, resulting in increased axonal growth, myelination, and subsequent functional recovery. These results demonstrate the opportunity of targeting multiple barriers to SCI regeneration for additive effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-682
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the NIH (R01EB005678, R01AI148076).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2020.


  • axon elongation
  • axon myelination
  • biomaterial
  • gene therapy
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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