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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 413091, 10 pages
Review Article

Peripheral Nerve Repair with Cultured Schwann Cells: Getting Closer to the Clinics

1Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulvard, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
2Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14000 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
3Department of Surgery and Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14000 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 9 January 2012; Accepted 26 January 2012

Academic Editors: B. Blits and A. Irintchev

Copyright © 2012 Maria Carolina O. Rodrigues et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peripheral nerve injuries are a frequent and disabling condition, which affects 13 to 23 per 100.000 persons each year. Severe cases, with structural disruption of the nerve, are associated with poor functional recovery. The experimental treatment using nerve grafts to replace damaged or shortened axons is limited by technical difficulties, invasiveness, and mediocre results. Other therapeutic choices include the adjunctive application of cultured Schwann cells and nerve conduits to guide axonal growth. The bone marrow is a rich source of mesenchymal cells, which can be differentiated in vitro into Schwann cells and subsequently engrafted into the damaged nerve. Alternatively, undifferentiated bone marrow mesenchymal cells can be associated with nerve conduits and afterward transplanted. Experimental studies provide evidence of functional, histological, and electromyographical improvement following transplantation of bone-marrow-derived cells in animal models of peripheral nerve injury. This paper focuses on this new therapeutic approach highlighting its direct translational and clinical utility in promoting regeneration of not only acute but perhaps also chronic cases of peripheral nerve damage.