Olfactory ensheathing cells enhance Schwann cell-mediated anatomical and functional repair after sciatic nerve injury in adult rats

Hua You, Li Wei, Yuan Liu, Martin Oudega, Shu Sheng Jiao, Shuai Nan Feng, Yin Chen, Jian Mei Chen, Bing Cang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Sciatic nerve injury results in axon damage, muscle degeneration, and loss of function. We compared the potential of Schwann cell (SC), olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC), or mixed SC/OEC transplants for anatomical and functional restoration after adult rat sciatic nerve transection. The cells were seeded into a 20. mm long macroporous poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide) acid conduit and grafted between the sciatic nerve stumps. Some rats received a conduit without cells (controls) or an autologous nerve graft, the clinical standard of care. Compared with SC transplants, axon regeneration was 25% less with OEC transplants but 28% more with SC/OEC transplants. Gastrocnemius muscle restoration was similar with a SC or OEC transplant and 35% better with a SC/OEC transplant. With SC transplants, motor and sensory function recovery and electrophysiological outcomes were similar as with OEC transplants and 33% better with SC/OEC transplants. Compared with the mixed SC/OEC transplants, axon regeneration was 21% better and gastrocnemius muscle restoration was 18% better with autologous peripheral nerve transplants, but these improvements did not translate into increased function and electrophysiological outcomes. Our results revealed that OEC synergistically improve SC mediated sciatic nerve repair. The data emphasized the promise of SC/OEC transplants as artificial nerves for peripheral nerve repair. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Understanding olfactory ensheathing glia and their prospect for nervous system repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-167
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial nerve
  • Axon regeneration
  • Cell transplantation
  • Glial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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