Using Stem Cells to Grow Artificial Tissue for Peripheral Nerve Repair
26 April 2016
Bhangra K S, Busuttil F, Phillips J B, Rahim A A.
Stem Cells International
Peripheral nerve injury continues to pose a clinical hurdle despite its frequency and advances in treatment. Unlike the central nervous system, neurons of the peripheral nervous system have a greater ability to regenerate. However, due to a number of confounding factors, this is often both incomplete and inadequate. The lack of supportive Schwann cells or their inability to maintain a regenerative phenotype is a major factor.
Advances in nervous system tissue engineering technology have led to efforts to build Schwann cell scaffolds to overcome this and enhance the regenerative capacity of neurons following injury. Stem cells that can differentiate along a neural lineage represent an essential resource and starting material for this process. In this review, we discuss the different stem cell types that are showing promise for nervous system tissue engineering in the context of peripheral nerve injury. We also discuss some of the biological, practical, ethical, and commercial considerations in using these different stem cells for future clinical application.