Introduction/Aims: Promoting regeneration after segmental nerve injury repair is a challenge, but improving angiogenesis could be beneficial. Macrophages facilitate regeneration after injury by promoting angiogenesis. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effects of transplanting exogenous macrophages to a segmental nerve injury. Methods: Bone marrow–derived cells were harvested from donor mice and differentiated to macrophages (BMDM), then suspended within fibrin hydrogels to facilitate BMDM transplantation. BMDM survival was characterized in vitro. The effect of this BMDM fibrin hydrogel construct at a nerve injury site was assessed using a mouse sciatic nerve gap injury. Mice were equally distributed to “fibrin+Mφ” (fibrin hydrogels containing culture medium and BMDM) or “fibrin” hydrogel control (fibrin hydrogels containing culture medium alone) groups. Flow cytometry (n = 3/group/endpoint) and immunohistochemical analysis (n = 5/group/endpoint) of the nerve gap region were performed at days 3, 5, and 7 after repair. Results: Incorporating macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) improved BMDM survival and expansion. Transplanted BMDM survived for at least 7 days in a nerve gap (~40% retained at day 3 and ~15% retained at day 7). From transplantation, macrophage quantities within the nerve gap were elevated when comparing fibrin+Mφ with fibrin control (~25% vs. 3% at day 3 and ~14% vs. 6% at day 7). Endothelial cells increased by about fivefold within the nerve gap, and axonal extension into the nerve gap increased almost twofold for fibrin+Mφ compared with fibrin control. Discussion: BMDM suspended within fibrin hydrogels at a nerve gap do not impair regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-900
Number of pages7
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • angiogenesis
  • bone marrow
  • macrophage
  • nerve gap
  • regeneration


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