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Nerve Regeneration Essay

1831 words - 7 pages

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS helps to relay sensory information to the brain and spinal cord. The brain, in turn, will send communication back to the PNS in order to perform specific motor functions. Damage to any part of the PNS can result in a variety of symptoms, which can include tingling, prickliness, numbness, muscle wasting, and even paralysis. Peripheral neuropathies are known to have about 100 different types and are classified by which nerves they impact: sensory, motor, or autonomic. There are several causes for nerve injury, and some of these include physical trauma, autoimmune diseases, tumors, toxins, and metabolic disorders. Out of these, physical injury is the most common, and can occur as a result of accidents or falls. Nerve damage can have several outcomes, including completely severed, crushed, stretched, and even fully detached from the spinal cord. Once a nerve injury has occurred, there are several ways to diagnose the extent of damage. These can include a CT scan, MRI, Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV), nerve biopsy, and a skin biopsy. Treatments are continuing to grow as more research becomes available, but there is optimism when it comes to stem cells and nerve regeneration.
There are several methods being used in nerve regeneration, but the journal article “ Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Stimulate Regeneration of Peripheral Nerves: BDNF Secreted by These Cells Promotes Nerve Healing and Axon Growth De Novo” focuses on stem cells. Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ASCs), have shown beneficial effects on peripheral nerve repair. Although it would seem logical to harvest Schwann cells for this purpose, the process is very traumatic, and ASCs are much more readily available due to their presence in fat tissue.(article) ASCs can be found in discarded fat tissue that has been used in procedures such as breast augmentations, as well as other elective cosmetic surgeries. Also, another advantage is that these cells, when implanted back into the same individual, offer a lower risk for immune rejection.(sciencedaily) The researchers set out to study if ASCs can repair crushed peripheral nerves and generate nerve growth.(article)
The study used both mice and human cell cultures. ASCs were obtained from fifteen female donors during abdominal surgery, and the mouse cells from the inguinal region of 8-9 week old male mice. Cell cultures were then cultivated in a hypoxic incubator and designated as follows: hypASCs for mouse and hyp_hASCs for human cultures. The reason for the hypoxic cultures is that previous research demonstrated that a hypoxic environment up-regulates growth factors by ASCs. Cells were also placed in a medium containing retinoic acid, which aids in neural differentiation. These subsequent cells were labeled as indASC for mouse, and ind_hASC for human. Once the cell cultures were made, the common peroneal nerve was crushed and a matrigel (a...

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