Plastic Surgery Research Council
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PSRC 60th Annual Meeting

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Peripheral Nerve Repair: Multimodal Comparison of The Regenerative Potential of Adipose Tissue Derived Cells in a Biodegradable Conduit
Patricia E. Engels, MD, E. A. Kappos, M. Meyer zu Schwabedissen, M. Tremp, A. Fischmann, D. J. Schaefer, D. F. Kalbermatten
Universitätsspital Basel

INTRODUCTION: Tissue engineering is a popular topic in peripheral nerve repair. Combining a nerve conduit with supporting cells could offer an opportunity to improve clinical outcome. Aim of this study was to provide a broad overview over promising transplantable cells under equal experimental conditions over a long term period.

METHODS: 1 Mio. of the following cells were introduced into biodegradable fibrin conduits: rat adipose-derived stem cells (rASCs), Schwann cell (SC)-like differentiated rASC (drASC), rat SCs (rSCs), human (h-)ASCs from the superficial and deep abdominal layer as well as human stromal vascular fraction (SVF). A 10mm gap in the sciatic nerve of female Sprague Dawley rats (7 groups of 7 animals, 8 weeks old) was bridged through the conduit. As a control we re-sutured a nerve segment as an autograft.

Long-term evaluation was carried out after 16 weeks comprising walking track, morphometric and MRI analysis. The Sciatic Function Index was calculated. Cross sections of the nerve proximal, distal and in between the two sutures were analysed. Gastrocnemius muscle weights were compared and MRI analyses performed.

RESULTS: MRI proved biodegradation of the conduit. Correlating trends throughout the different evaluation techniques could be shown: Superficial hASC supported regeneration better than deep, in line with published in vitro data. SC-like drASC had the best regeneration potential compared to other adipose tissue derived cells.

CONCLUSION: Comparison of the most promising cells in a multimodal manner comprising functional and morphometric analysis revealed that particularly differentiated ASCs could be a clinically translatable route towards new methods to enhance peripheral nerve repair.


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