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Muscle Nerve. 2011 Apr;43(4):543-51. doi: 10.1002/mus.21907. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells promotes axonal regeneration and functional recovery of peripheral nerve lesion in rats.

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Experimental Surgery Laboratory, Groupe de Recherche sur le Handicap Ventilatoire, UPRES EA 3830, European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP 23), Institute for Medical Research, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Rouen, 22 Boulevard Gambetta, 76183 Rouen, France.



Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) hold promise for cell therapy because they may promote regeneration of the central nervous system. However, OECs have been less studied after peripheral nerve injury (PNI). The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of OEC transplantation on a severe sciatic nerve (SN) lesion.


OECs were injected in rats after section and 2-cm resection of the SN.


Three months after therapy, muscle strength and morphometric studies showed complete restoration of the contractile properties of the gastrocnemius and complete repair of the SN. Immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR studies indicated an increase in the presence of neurotrophic factors. Interestingly, tracking of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive OECs showed that no OECs were present in the SN.


Our results demonstrate that, after severe PNI, OECs have remarkable potential for nerve regeneration by creating a favorable microenvironment.

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