Neurotrophic factors improve muscle reinnervation from embryonic neurons

Gizelda T.B. Casella, Vania W. Almeida, Robert M. Grumbles, Yang Liu, Christine K. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Motoneurons die in diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and after spinal cord trauma, inducing muscle denervation. We tested whether transplantation of embryonic cells with neurotrophic factors into peripheral nerve of adult rats improves muscle reinnervation and motor unit function more than cells alone. One week after sciatic nerve section, embryonic ventral spinal cord cells were transplanted into the tibial nerve with or without glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, hepatocyte growth factor, and insulin-like growth factor-1. These cells represented the only neuron source for muscle reinnervation. Ten weeks after transplantation, all medial gastrocnemius muscles contracted in response to electrical stimulation of cell transplants with factors. Only 80% of muscles responded with cells alone. Factors and cells resulted in survival of more motoneurons and reinnervation of more muscle fibers for a given axon (motor unit) number. Greater reinnervation from embryonic cells may enhance muscle excitation by patterned electrical stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-797
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Motoneuron death
  • Motoneuron replacement
  • Motor axon sprouting
  • Motor unit force
  • Muscle reinnervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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