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Keywords:

  • GDNF;
  • lentiviral vector;
  • nerve regeneration;
  • neurotrophic factor;
  • peripheral nerve injury;
  • Schwann cells

Abstract

Introduction:

We sought to determine whether supplementation of acellular nerve allografts (ANAs) with Schwann cells overexpressing GDNF (G-SCs) would enhance functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury.

Methods:

SCs expanded in vitro were infected with a lentiviral vector to induce GDNF overexpression. Wild-type SCs (WT-SCs) and G-SCs were seeded into ANAs used to repair a 14-mm nerve gap defect. Animals were harvested after 6 and 12 weeks for histomorphometric and muscle force analysis.

Results:

At 6 weeks, histomorphometry revealed that ANAs supplemented with G-SCs promoted similar regeneration compared with isograft at midgraft. However, G-SCs failed to promote regeneration into the distal stump. At 12 weeks, ANAs with G-SCs had lower maximum and specific force production compared with controls.

Conclusions:

The combined results suggest that consistent overexpression of GDNF by G-SCs trapped axons in the graft and prevented functional regeneration. Muscle Nerve, 2013