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Regenerative cell injection in denervated muscle reduces atrophy and enhances recovery following nerve repair

Authors

  • Dominique Schaakxs MD,

    1. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Sweden
    2. Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, CHUV, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • Daniel F. Kalbermatten MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, University Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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  • Wassim Raffoul MD,

    1. Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, CHUV, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • Mikael Wiberg MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Sweden
    2. Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Section for Hand and Plastic Surgery, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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  • Paul J. Kingham PhD

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Sweden
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Correspondence to: P. J. Kingham; E-mail: paul.kingham@anatomy.umu.se

Abstract

Introduction: Functional muscle recovery after peripheral nerve injury is far from optimal, partly due to atrophy of the muscle arising from prolonged denervation. We hypothesized that injecting regenerative cells into denervated muscle would reduce this atrophy. Methods: A rat sciatic nerve lesion was performed, and Schwann cells or adipose-derived stem cells, untreated or induced to a “Schwann-cell–like” phenotype (dASC), were injected into the gastrocnemius muscle. Nerves were either repaired immediately or capped to prevent muscle reinnervation. One month later, functionality was measured using a walking track test, and muscle atrophy was assessed by examining muscle weight and histology. Results: Schwann cells and dASC groups showed significantly better scores on functional tests when compared with injections of growth medium alone. Muscle weight and histology were also significantly improved in these groups. Conclusion: Cell injections may reduce muscle atrophy and could benefit nerve injury patients. Muscle Nerve 47: 691–701, 2013

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