Collagen tube lined with genetically modified Schwann cells with increased motility: A new promising bioartificial nerve graft
This study investigated the feasibility of inducing collateral nerve sprouting by artificial nerve grafts. The rat left peroneal nerve was severed and a 10-mm segment was removed. A perineurial window was created in the ipsilateral tibial nerve. The distal stump of the peroneal nerve was connected end-to-side to the perineurial window with either a nerve autograft (group A), a silicone tube (group B), or a silicone tube lined with cultured Schwann cells (group C). After 90 days light microscopy showed collateral nerve regeneration not only through the nerve grafts but also through silicone tubes. The presence of Schwann cells ensured significantly higher regeneration rate in the silicone tubes (87% in group C vs. 40% in group B) which was comparable to that of nerve grafts (100%). Interestingly, morphometric findings and functional recovery in the case of nerve regeneration were very similar in all groups.