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Glia. 2007 Feb;55(3):312-6.

Transplanted Schwann cells, not olfactory ensheathing cells, myelinate optic nerve fibres.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, United Kingdom.


In a previous study we found that olfactory ensheathing cells transplanted into complete retrobulbar transections of the rat optic nerve mediated regeneration of severed retinal ganglion cell axons through the graft region. Although the regenerating axons were ensheathed by the transplanted cells, none of the regenerating axons became myelinated by either central or peripheral type myelin. In the present study we used the same operative procedure but transplanted Schwann cells instead of olfactory ensheathing cells. As with the olfactory ensheathing cell transplants the Schwann cells transplants also induced regeneration of the severed retinal ganglion cell axons into the graft region. In contrast to the situation with the olfactory ensheathing cell transplants, however, a considerable number of the regenerating axons became myelinated by peripheral type myelin produced by the transplanted Schwann cells. This observation identifies a further distinction between these two cell types which are phenotypically similar in many ways, but which have been shown to have major functional differences with regard to regeneration in spinal cord lesions.

Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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