Devastating central nervous system injuries and diseases continue to occur in spite of the tremendous efforts of various prevention programs. The enormity of and annual escalation of healthcare costs due to them require that therapeutic strategies be responsibly developed. The dysfunctions that occur after injury and disease are primarily due to neurotransmission damage. The last two decades of both experimental and clinical research have demonstrated that neural and non-neural tissue and cell transplantation is a viable option for ameliorating dysfunctions to markedly improve quality of life. Moreover, significant progress has been made with tissue and cell transplantation in studies of pathophysiology, plasticity, sprouting, regeneration, and functional recovery. This chapter will review information about the ability and potential, particularly for traumatic spinal cord injury, that neural and non-neural tissue and cell transplantation has to replace lost neurons and glia, reconstruct damaged neural circuitry, and to restore neurotransmitters, hormones, neurotrophic factors, and neurotransmission. Donor tissues and cells to be discussed include peripheral nerve, fetal spinal cord and brain, central and peripheral nervous systems’ glia, stem cells, those that have been genetically engineered, and non-neural ones. Combinatorial approaches and clinical research are also reviewed.
Keywords: spinal cord injury, transplantation, regeneration, plasticity, translation