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.
KeywordsSciatic nerve Neural stem cells Nerve repair Rats
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