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Peripheral Nervous System Analysis

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The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is made up of many complex cell types that work together to transmit electrical signals from the body’s sensory receptors to the central nervous system (CNS) and vice versa. Peripheral nerve cells relay the electrical signals through the long, thin part of the cell called an axon. To increase the speed of which the signal is sent, the axon is insulated with a myelin sheath produced by Shwann cells (SCs). Without an intact axon and myelin sheath, peripheral nerve cells are unable to activate target muscles or relay sensory information from the limbs back to the brain.
When damage to a nerve occurs, SCs take the lead role in supporting nerve regeneration. During nerve injury, SCs break down the myelin and the axon, guides regeneration of a new axon, and eventually re-myelinates the new axon. This feature makes them invaluable for aiding in the neural repair of patients suffering from nerve damage due to trauma, however, the number of SCs is limited, making a traumatic injury difficult to repair.
To increase the number of SCs to aid in repair, an in vitro derivation of SCs is proposed by Cai et al, by using bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), also known as mesenchymal stem cells. BMSCs are multipotent cells that are capable of differentiating into
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BMSCs were checked for mesenchymal markers CD73, CD90 and CD105. BMSCs were then differentiated into SC like-cells (SCLCs). Showed morphological and marker expression as well as their ability to produce myelin in vitro. Furthermore, SCLCs supported neurite growth via secretion of neutrotrophic factors and formed PNS-type myelin segments along neurites in in vitro test of function. Also tested in vivo in a rat model that had sciatic nerve injury. New SCs showed repair phenotype for guiding axonal regrowth and the myelinating phenotype with expression of human MBP and formation of compact
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