Influence of undifferentiated bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) combined with vein graft on transected
sciatic nerve repair was studied in diabetic rats. A nerve segment, 10 mm, was excised and a vein graft (VG) was used to
bridge the gap. 10 microliter undifferentiated BMSCs (2x107 cells /mL) were administered into the graft in treatment
group (VG/BMSC). Phosphate buffered saline was only administered into the graft in control group. The
regenerated nerve fibers were studied in three time points of 4, 8 and 12 weeks after surgery. Evaluation of the repair
process was based on behavioral, functional (Walking Track Analysis), electrophysiological, histomorphometrical and
immunohistochemical criteria. The behavioral, functional and electrophysiological studies indicated that there was
significant recovery in regeneration of axons in VG/BMSC group (P<0.05). Morphometric evaluations showed that the
number and diameter of myelinated fibers in VG /BMSC group were significantly higher than those in the control group
(P<0.05). This indicates the potential of using undifferentiated BMSCs combined with vein graft in peripheral nerve
repair in diabetic rats with no restrictions of donor-site morbidity associated with isolation of Schwann cells. This
technique is also cost saving because of decrease in interval from tissue harvest until administration of the cells and
simplicity of laboratory techniques in comparison with undifferentiated BMSCs. It may have clinical implications for the
surgical management of diabetic patients after nerve transection.
Keywords: Nerve regeneration, sciatic, undifferentiated BMSC, vein graft, diabetic rats, streptozotocin, functional recovery.
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