Schwann cells seeded in acellular nerve grafts improve functional recovery

Nithya J. Jesuraj, Katherine B. Santosa, Matthew R. Macewan, Amy Moore, Rahul Kasukurthi, Wilson Z. Ray, Eric R. Flagg, Daniel A. Hunter, Gregory H. Borschel, Philip J. Johnson, Susan E. Mackinnon, Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study evaluated whether Schwann cells (SCs) from different nerve sources transplanted into cold-preserved acellular nerve grafts (CP-ANGs) would improve functional regeneration compared with nerve isografts. Methods: SCs isolated and expanded from motor and sensory branches of rat femoral and sciatic nerves were seeded into 14mm CP-ANGs. Growth factor expression, axonal regeneration, and functional recovery were evaluated in a 14-mm rat sciatic injury model and compared with isografts. Results: At 14 days, motor or sensory-derived SCs increased expression of growth factors in CP-ANGs versus isografts. After 42 days, histomorphometric analysis found CP-ANGs with SCs and isografts had similar numbers of regenerating nerve fibers. At 84 days, muscle force generation was similar for CP-ANGs with SCs and isografts. SC source did not affect nerve fiber counts or muscle force generation. Conclusions: SCs transplanted into CP-ANGs increase functional regeneration to isograft levels; however SC nerve source did not have an effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-276
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Cell transplantation
  • Growth factor
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Reinnervation


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