Skin-derived stem cells transplanted into resorbable guides provide functional nerve regeneration after sciatic nerve resection

C. Marchesi, M. Pluderi, F. Colleoni, M. Belicchi, M. Meregalli, A. Farini, D. Parolini, L. Draghi, M. E. Fruguglietti, M. Gavina, L. Porretti, A. Cattaneo, M. Battistelli, A. Prelle, M. Moggio, S. Borsa, L. Bello, D. Spagnoli, S. M. Gaini, M. C. TanziN. Bresolin, N. Grimoldi, Yvan Torrente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The regeneration in the peripheral nervous system is often incomplete and the treatment of severe lesions with nerve tissue loss is primarily aimed at recreating nerve continuity. Guide tubes of various types, filled with Schwann cells, stem cells, or nerve growth factors are attractive as an alternative therapy to nerve grafts. In this study, we evaluated whether skin-derived stem cells (SDSCs) can improve peripheral nerve regeneration after transplantation into nerve guides. We compared peripheral nerve regeneration in adult rats with sciatic nerve gaps of 16 mm after autologous transplantation of GFP-labeled SDSCs into two different types of guides: a synthetic guide, obtained by dip coating with a L-lactide and trimethylene carbonate (PLA-TMC) copolymer and a collagen-based guide. The sciatic function index and the recovery rates of the compound muscle action potential were significantly higher in the animals that received SDSCs transplantation, in particular, into the collagen guide, compared to the control guides filled only with PBS. For these guides the morphological and immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated an increased number of myelinated axons expressing S100 and Neurofilament 70, suggesting the presence of regenerating nerve fibers along the gap. GFP positive cells were found around regenerating nerve fibers and few of them were positive for the expression of glial markers as S-100 and glial fibrillary acidic protein. RT-PCR analysis confirmed the expression of S100 and myelin basic protein in the animals treated with the collagen guide filled with SDSCs. These data support the hypothesis that SDSCs could represent a tool for future cell therapy applications in peripheral nerve regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-438
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Artificial graft
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Regeneration
  • Skin-derived stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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