gms | German Medical Science

59th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
3rd Joint Meeting with the Italian Neurosurgical Society (SINch)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

1 - 4 June 2008, Würzburg

Adult human schwann cells: analysis of in vivo potential as a cellular basis for biohybrid nerve grafts for peripheral nerve reconstruction

Die Verwendung von adulten humanen Schwann-Zellen als zelluläre Komponente in biohybriden Transplantaten zur Rekonstruktion peripherer Nerven

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author S. Chaturvedi - Institute of Neuroanatomy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany and Center for Systems Neuroscience (ZSN) Hannover
  • C. Grothe - Institute of Neuroanatomy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany and Center for Systems Neuroscience (ZSN) Hannover
  • K. Haastert - Institute of Neuroanatomy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany and Center for Systems Neuroscience (ZSN) Hannover

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Società Italiana di Neurochirurgia. 59. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), 3. Joint Meeting mit der Italienischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (SINch). Würzburg, 01.-04.06.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2008. DocP 086

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 30, 2008

© 2008 Chaturvedi et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Aim of the study was the evaluation of adult human Schwann cells (ahSCs) as a promising candidate for cell-based peripheral nerve reconstruction therapy in vivo. Regeneration parameters were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed together with investigating the fate of ahSCs after implantation in a long peripheral nerve gap and their involvement in re-establishment of functional nerve fibers.

Methods: Naive (physiological) ahSCs isolated from nerve biopsies (male, 15, 23 & 51yrs) were enriched in vitro [1]. 7x105 cells were either labeled with PKH-26-GL (fluorescent cell surface) or left unlabeled prior to re-suspension in Matrigel before transplantation in silicone tubes to bridge 10 mm sciatic nerve gaps. Immunosuppression (Cyclosporine A) was maintained over the complete experiment to avoid graft rejection. 2, 4 and 6 weeks after transplantation, PKH-26-GL labeled ahSCs were analyzed with regard to survival, distribution and localization pattern within regenerated nerve tissue (n=3, each) and functional behavior (myelination of regenerated axons). 3 and 7 weeks after transplantation of unlabeled ahSCs (n=6, each), regenerated nerve tissues were epon embedded and histomorphometrically analyzed for the number of regenerated myelinated axons in comparison to acellular control filled with Matrigel alone (n=5, each).

Results: PKH-26-GL labeled ahSCs survived and were found to be heterogeneously distributed throughout the regenerated tissue cable in a distinct pattern. AhSCs demonstrated close association with the regenerating axons only 6 weeks after transplantation. Number of nerve transplants including gap-bridging tissue cables after 3 and 7 weeks was significantly higher after ahSC transplantation as compared to acellular control. Histomorphometry showed enhanced overall regeneration parameters 7 weeks after transplantation of ahSCs.

Conclusions: The current study demonstrates for the first time that ahSCs grafted into a long gap in a peripheral nerve survive and show gap-wide distribution in a definite pattern. AhSCs seems to be associated with regenerating axons and point towards a role in supporting axonal regeneration.


Haastert K, Mauritz C, Chaturvedi S, Grothe C. Human and rat adult Schwann cell cultures: fast and efficient enrichment and highly effective non-viral transfection protocol. Nat Protoc. 2007;2(1):99-104.