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Keywords:

  • Facial nerve;
  • regeneration;
  • platelet-rich plasma;
  • stem cells;
  • nerve growth factors;
  • Level of Evidence: 2c.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and neural-induced human mesenchymal stem cells (nMSCs) on axonal regeneration from a facial nerve axotomy injury in a guinea pig model.

Study Design:

Prospective, controlled animal study.

Methods:

Experiments involved the transection and repair of the facial nerve in 24 albino guinea pigs. Four groups were created based on the method of repair: suture only (group I, control group); PRP with suture (group II); nMSCs with suture (group III); and PRP and nMSCs with suture (group IV). Each method of repair was applied immediately after nerve transection. The outcomes measured were: 1) functional outcome measurement (vibrissae and eyelid closure movements); 2) electrophysiologic evaluation; 3) neurotrophic factors assay; and 4) histologic evaluation.

Results:

With respect to the functional outcome measurement, the functional outcomes improved after transection and reanastomosis in all groups. The control group was the slowest to demonstrate recovery of movement after transection and reanastomosis. The other three groups (groups II, III, and IV) had significant improvement in function compared to the control group 4 weeks after surgery (P < .05). On the electrophysiologic evaluation, there was significantly better performances in groups II, III, and IV when compared to group I with respect to the amplitude and excitation area of the compound motor action potentials (MAPs) 4 and 6 weeks after surgery (P < .05); group IV had the best performance. A Western blot assay showed that group II had marked expression of several neurotrophic factors. Groups II, III, and IV demonstrated better results in axon counts and myelin thickness when compared with group I. Based on quantitative histology analysis, group IV had the greatest myelinated axon fibers compared to the other groups (P < .05).

Conclusions:

The use of PRP and/or nMSCs promotes facial nerve regeneration in an animal model of facial nerve axotomy. The use of nMSCs showed no benefit over the use of PRP in facial nerve regeneration, but the combined use of PRP and nMSCs showed a greater beneficial effect than use of either alone. This study provides evidence for the potential clinical application of PRP and nMSCs in peripheral nerve regeneration of an acute nerve injury. Laryngoscope, 2010