Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Neural Stem Cells Enhance Nerve Regeneration after Sciatic Nerve Injury in Rats



With the development of tissue engineering and the shortage of autologous nerve grafts in nerve reconstruction, cell transplantation in a conduit is an alternative strategy to improve nerve regeneration. The present study evaluated the effects and mechanism of brain-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) on sciatic nerve injury in rats. At the transection of the sciatic nerve, a 10-mm gap between the nerve stumps was bridged with a silicon conduit filled with 5 × 105 NSCs. In control experiments, the conduit was filled with nerve growth factor (NGF) or normal saline (NS). The functional and morphological properties of regenerated nerves were investigated, and expression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and NGF was measured. One week later, there was no connection through the conduit. Four or eight weeks later, fibrous connections were evident between the proximal and distal segments. Motor function was revealed by measurement of the sciatic functional index (SFI) and sciatic nerve conduction velocity (NCV). Functional recovery in the NSC and NGF groups was significantly more advanced than that in the NS group. NSCs showed significant improvement in axon myelination of the regenerated nerves. Expression of NGF and HGF in the injured sciatic nerve was significantly lower in the NS group than in the NSCs and NGF groups. These results and other advantages of NSCs, such as ease of harvest and relative abundance, suggest that NSCs could be used clinically to enhance peripheral nerve repair.


Sciatic nerve Neural stem cells Nerve repair Rats 



This work was supported by the Taishan Scholar with affiliation of Otology and Neuroscience Center of BMU, the program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81171142), New Century Excellent Talents in Universities (No. NCET-08-0876), the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong (No. Y2008C18), the Science and Technology Development Project of Binzhou Medical College (No. BY2008KJ25), the Science and Technology Development Project of Yantai (No. 2011073), the Medical Science and Technology Development Project of Shandong (No. 2009HW007) to F.H., and Taishan Scholar to Q.Y.Z. We thank Dr. Cindy Benedict-Alderfer for editing this manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest, personally, professionally, or financially, relating to the publication of this work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Human Anatomy and Histology and Embryology, Otology & Neuroscience CenterBinzhou Medical UniversityYantaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Extremity SurgeryYuhuangding HospitalYantaiChina
  3. 3.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Lung Cancer Metastasis and Tumor Microenvironment, Tianjin Lung Cancer InstituteTianjin Medical University General HospitalTianjinChina

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