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Remyelination of Demyelinated CNS Axons by Transplanted Human Schwann Cells: The Deleterious Effect of Contaminating Fibroblasts

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Areas of demyelination can be remyelinated by transplanting myelin-forming cells. Schwann cells are the naturally remyelinating cells of the peripheral nervous system and have a number of features that may make them attractive for cell implantation therapies in multiple sclerosis, in which spontaneous but limited Schwann cell remyelination has been well documented. Schwann cells can be expanded in vitro, potentially affording the opportunity of autologous transplantation; and they might also be spared the demyelinating process in multiple sclerosis. Although rat, cat, and monkey Schwann cells have been transplanted into rodent demyelinating lesions, the behavior of transplanted human Schwann cells has not been evaluated. In this study we examined the consequences of injecting human Schwann cells into areas of acute demyelination in the spinal cords of adult rats. We found that transplants containing significant fibroblast contamination resulted in deposition of large amounts of collagen and extensive axonal degeneration. However, Schwann cell preparations that had been purified by positive immunoselection using antibodies to human low-affinity nerve growth factor receptor containing less than 10% fibroblasts were associated with remyelination. This result indicates that fibroblast contamination of human Schwann cells represents a greater problem than would have been appreciated from previous studies.

Keywords: Key words: Human Schwann cells; Schwann cell trans

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Department of Neurology and Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2PY, UK 2: †Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OES, UK 3: ‡Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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