Author(s): Kappos EA, , Engels PE, , Tremp M,
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Abstract Tissue engineering is a popular topic in peripheral nerve repair. Combining a nerve conduit with supporting adipose-derived cells could offer an opportunity to prevent time-consuming Schwann cell culture or the use of an autograft with its donor site morbidity and eventually improve clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to provide a broad overview over promising transplantable cells under equal experimental conditions over a long-term period. A 10-mm gap in the sciatic nerve of female Sprague-Dawley rats (7 groups of 7 animals, 8 weeks old) was bridged through a biodegradable fibrin conduit filled with rat adipose-derived stem cells (rASCs), differentiated rASCs (drASCs), human (h)ASCs from the superficial and deep abdominal layer, human stromal vascular fraction (SVF), or rat Schwann cells, respectively. As a control, we resutured a nerve segment as an autograft. Long-term evaluation was carried out after 12 weeks comprising walking track, morphometric, and MRI analyses. The sciatic functional index was calculated. Cross sections of the nerve, proximal, distal, and in between the two sutures, were analyzed for re-/myelination and axon count. Gastrocnemius muscle weights were compared. MRI proved biodegradation of the conduit. Differentiated rat ASCs performed significantly better than undifferentiated rASCs with less muscle atrophy and superior functional results. Superficial hASCs supported regeneration better than deep hASCs, in line with published in vitro data. The best regeneration potential was achieved by the drASC group when compared with other adipose tissue-derived cells. Considering the ease of procedure from harvesting to transplanting, we conclude that comparison of promising cells for nerve regeneration revealed that particularly differentiated ASCs could be a clinically translatable route toward new methods to enhance peripheral nerve repair.
This article was published in Stem Cells Dev
and referenced in Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering