Plastic Surgery Research Council
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Presenter: Ilaria Tocco Tussardi, MD
Co-Authors: Vindigni V; Bassetto F; Zavan B
Clinic of Plastic Surgery University Hospital of Padua

Objective: Adult human stem cells have gained progressive interest as a promising source of autologous cells to be used as therapeutic vehicles. Multipotent stem cells isolated from skin (skin-derived precursors-SKPs) and adipose tissue (adipose-derived stem cells-ADSc) demonstrated an exciting potential for neural regeneration, which has yet to be fully explored.

Methods: Adult stem cells isolated from skin and from adipose tissue derived from the same adult donor were treated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2). Neurospheres obtained were first expanded and evaluated in term of proliferative ability, and then seeded onto two tridimensional scaffold types: hyaluronan based membrane and fibrin-glue meshes. Neurospheres were then induced to acquire a glial and neuronal-like phenotype. Gene expression, morphological feature and chromosomal imbalance (kariotype) were analyzed and compared.

Results: Adipose- and skin-derived neurospheres grew in suspension as spheres in the presence of the mitogens FGF2 and EGF. Adipose and skin derived neurospheres are able to grow well and to differentiate into glial/neuron cells without any chromosomal imbalance in both scaffolds. Adult cells are able to express typical cell surface markers such as S100; GFAP; nestin; ?III tubulin; CNPase.

Discussion: We have demonstrated that neurospheres isolated from skin and adipose tissues are able to differentiate in glial/neuron-like cells, without any

chromosomal imbalance in two scaffold types, useful for tissue engineering application: hyaluronan based membrane and fibrin-glue meshes.

Conclusion: The work described in this paper provides the framework for our attempts to develop a co-culture of Schwann cells and neurons obtained by differentiation of skin-derived and adipose-derived stem cells. The co-culture system will be conceived as an in vitro model to study the re-myelination of the axons, the structure and permeability of the junctional channels through the layers of non-compact myelin, for further dissection of the sequence of events that end in demyelination followed by axonal loss.

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