Delivery of Adipose-Derived Precursor Cells for Peripheral Nerve Repair
Abstract:To test the hypothesis that the transplantation of adipose precursor cells (APCs) improves nerve regeneration and functional recovery, human APCs were transplanted into the lumen of a nerve guide in a 6-mm unilateral sciatic nerve defect in athymic rats. The three control groups for the study were biodegradable, polycaprolactone-based nerve conduit without APCs, autograft, and empty defect. Behavioral tests were performed every 3 weeks, and the sciatic functional index (SFI) was calculated based on measurements from the hindlimb prints. After 12 weeks, the nerve as well as right and left gastrocnemius muscles were removed and preserved for histological evaluation. Full regeneration of the sciatic nerve occurred on the rats that received the autograft, the guide, and the guide with APCs; no regeneration was observed on any of the rats in which the defect was left untreated (empty defect). APCs survived transplantation for up to 12 weeks in the injured peripheral nerve. No significant colocalization was observed between the immunostaining for glial fibrillary protein and anti-human lamin A/C, implying that the APCs did not differentiate into Schwann cells at the site of injury. In comparison with the rats with untreated defects, a decrease in muscle atrophy was observed on those rats that received the autograft and the guide with cells as indicated by the gastrocnemius muscle weight ratio and the muscle fiber ratio. Significant differences in SFI were observed 3 weeks postinjury between the rats in which the guide was left empty and those that received the guide with APCs; however, these differences were not observed at 12 weeks. The transplantation of APCs promoted the formation of a more robust nerve as evidenced by the results from the cross-sectional area of regenerated nerve, and the transplantation of APCs produced a decrease in muscle atrophy.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 2009
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