Background: Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are prevalent, devastating for quality and expectancy
of life, and cause heavy economic burdens. Stem cell therapies hold promise in complete structural
and functional restoration of SCI.
Objective: This review focuses on the methods currently used to evaluate the stem cell therapies for
Results: Various kinds of stem cells involving embryonic stem cells (ESCs), bone marrow stromal
cells (BMSCs), neural stem cells (NSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are extensively
used in regenerative research of SCI. For evaluation, the survival and integration of transplanted cells,
spinal cord reconstruction and functional recovery all should be considered. Histological and histochemistrical,
microscopic, and colorimetric assays, and real-time RT-PCR techniques are applied to
determine the outcome. From the three main aspects-transplanted cells, spinal cord structure, and functional
recovery-we summarize and discuss these methods with certain instances of applications in SCI
models. Importantly, for the evaluations of function, neuronal transmitting, electrophysiological analysis
and behavioral score are included.
Conclusion: Wider conjunction of established technologies, as well as the further development of nondestructive
methods might make a big difference in testing stem cell therapies.