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Neuroscience. 2011 Dec 29;199:515-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.09.064. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Nerve repair with adipose-derived stem cells protects dorsal root ganglia neurons from apoptosis.

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Blond McIndoe Research Labs, Regenerative Biomedicine Group, University of Manchester, UK.


Novel approaches are required in the clinical management of peripheral nerve injuries because current surgical techniques result in deficient sensory recovery. Microsurgery alone fails to address extensive cell death in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), in addition to poor axonal regeneration. Incorporation of cultured cells into nerve conduits may offer a novel approach in which to combine nerve repair and enhance axonal regeneration with neuroprotective therapies. We examined apoptotic mediator expression in rat DRG neurons following repair of a 10-mm sciatic nerve gap using a novel synthetic conduit made of poly ε-caprolactone (PCL) and primed with adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) differentiated towards a Schwann cell phenotype or with primary adult Schwann cells. Differentiated ADSC expressed a range of neurotrophic factors including nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and neurotrophin-4 (NT4). Incorporation of either differentiated ADSC or Schwann cells significantly increased anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 mRNA expression (P<0.001) in the DRG, while significantly decreasing pro-apoptotic Bax (P<0.001) and caspase-3 mRNA (P<0.01) expression. Cleaved caspase-3 protein was observed in the DRG following nerve injury which was attenuated when nerve repair was performed using conduits seeded with cells. Cell incorporation into conduit repair of peripheral nerves demonstrates experimental promise as a novel intervention to prevent DRG neuronal loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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