03-11-2003, 09:51 AM
• Cui Q, Pollett MA, Symons NA, Plant GW and Harvey AR (2003). A New Approach to CNS Repair using Chimeric Peripheral Nerve Grafts. J Neurotrauma 20:17-31. Summary: We have examined whether transplanted freeze-thawed peripheral nerve (PN) sheaths repopulated ex vivo with purified adult Schwann cells (SCs) support the regeneration of adult rat retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons. Cultured adult SCs were derived from donor rats or from the host animals themselves. We also transplanted PN sheaths filled with neonatal SCs or donor adult olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG). 100,000 cells were injected into 1.5-cm lengths of freeze-thawed PN. After 2 days in culture, repopulated PN segments were grafted onto the transected optic nerve of adult Fischer rats. Three weeks later, 6% fluorogold (FG) was applied to distal PN. Retrogradely labeled RGCs were counted in retinal wholemounts and PN grafts were processed for immunohistochemistry. As expected, there was no RGC axon regeneration in cell-free grafts. Regrowth was also absent in neonatal SC- and adult OEG-filled grafts, which contained only small numbers of surviving donor cells. Many cells were, however, seen in adult SC repopulated PN grafts, intermingled with pan-neurofilament(+) and GAP-43(+) fibers. SCs were aligned along the grafts and were S-100(+), p75(+). Ultrastructurally, SCs were associated with myelinated and unmyelinated axons. Hundreds of FG-labeled RGCs were seen in retinas of rats with congeneic or allogeneic PN sheaths repopulated with either donor or autologous (host-derived) adult SCs. Intraocular CNTF injections significantly increased the number of regenerating RGCs in donor and autologous adult SC groups. The use of chimeric grafts to bridge CNS tissue defects could provide a clinical alternative to using multiple PN autografts, the harvesting of which would exacerbate peripheral dysfunction in already injured patients. School of Anatomy and Human Biology and Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, Australia.