Tissue engineering approaches for promoting the repair of peripheral nerve injuries have focused on cell-based
therapies involving Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). The authors evaluated the effects of undifferentiated ASCs and of
neurally differentiated ASCs on the regenerating abilities of peripheral nerves. We hope that this would demonstrate the
feasibility of using adipose derived stem cells for peripheral nerve regeneration and provide clues regarding the use of adipose-
derived stem cells.
ASCs were isolated and cultured. Then the cells were cultured with neuronal induction agents for neural differentiation.
ASCs and neurally differentiated ASCs were transplanted into sciatic nerve defects. After 12 weeks, the number and diameter
of the myelinated fibers were measured and nerve conduction study was done.
The extent of regeneration of myelinated fibers in the neurally differentiated ASCs transplanted group was greater than
that in the ASCs transplanted group or the control group. However, thickness of myelin sheath and diameter of nerve fibers
in the ASCs transplanted group were greater than those in the neutrally differentiated ASCs transplanted group or the
control group. Nerve conduction study showed good recovery in the neurally differentiated ASCs transplanted groups.
Muscles can atrophy and contract if denervation has started. It would be difficult to recover muscle function even if the
nerve was reinnervated. Therefore, although neurally differentiated ASCs were found to have a greater functional effect
than non-differentiated ASCs, time constraint is important when considering a method of ASCs transplantation.