2018 Volume 60 Issue 4 Pages 526-535
The effects of transplanted human dental pulp-derived cells (DPCs) on peripheral nerve regeneration were studied in a rat model of sciatic nerve crush injury. In one group, DPCs were transplanted into the compression site (cell transplantation group); the control group underwent no transplantation (crushed group). Sciatic nerve regeneration was determined based on the recovery of motor function and histological and immunohistochemical analyses. The cell transplantation group showed improved motor function compared with the crushed group using the CatWalk XT system, which corresponded to a higher ratio of tibialis to anterior muscle weight 14 days after surgery. Histological analysis revealed a smaller interspace area and few vacuoles in the sciatic nerve after cell transplantation compared with the crushed group. The myelin sheath was visualized with Luxol Fast Blue (LFB) staining and anti-myelin basic protein (anti-MBP) antibody labeling; the percentages of LFB- and MBP-positive areas were higher in the cell transplantation group than in the crushed group. Human mitochondria-positive cells were also identified in the sciatic nerve at the transplantation site 14 days after surgery. Taken together, the observed correlation between morphological findings and functional outcomes following DPC transplantation indicates that DPCs promote peripheral nerve regeneration in rats.