Peripheral nerve regeneration by transplantation of bone marrow stromal cell-derived Schwann cells in adult rats

Toshiro Mimura, Mari Dezawa, Hiroshi Kanno, Hajime Sawada, Isao Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


Object. Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) can be induced to form Schwann cells by sequentially treating the cells with β-mercaptoethanol and retinoic acid, followed by forskolin and neurotrophic factors including heregulin. In this study the authors made artificial grafts filled with BMSC-derived Schwann cells (BMSC-DSCs) and transplanted them into the transected sciatic nerve in adult rats to evaluate the potential of BMSCs as a novel alternative method of peripheral nerve regeneration. Methods. The BMSC-DSCs were suspended in Matrigel and transferred into hollow fibers (12 mm in length), which were transplanted into the transected sciatic nerve in adult Wistar rats. Six months after cell transplantation, electrophysiological evaluation and walking track analysis were performed. Results of these studies showed significant improvement in motor nerve conduction velocity and sciatic nerve functional index in the BMSC-DSC - transplanted group compared with the control group (Matrigel graft only). Immunohistochemical study data demonstrated that transplanted BMSCs labeled with retrovirus green fluorescent protein were positive for P0 and myelin-associated glycoprotein and had reconstructed nodes of Ranvier and remyelinated regenerated nerve axons. The number of regenerated axons in the axial section of the central portion of the graft was significantly greater in the transplanted group. Although BMSCs can differentiate into several types of cells, tumor formation did not occur 6 months after engraftment. Conclusions. Results in this study indicate that BMSC-DSCs have great potential to promote regeneration of peripheral nerves. The artificial graft made with BMSC-DSCs represents an alternative method for the difficult reconstruction of a long distance gap in a peripheral nerve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-812
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nerve conduction velocity
  • Rat
  • Remyelination
  • Sciatic nerve
  • Stem cell
  • Walking track analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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