Optic nerve regeneration within artificial Schwann cell graft in the adult rat

Hisanari Negishi, Mari Dezawa, Toshiyuki Oshitari, Emiko Adachi-Usami

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48 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate whether an artificial graft made by cultured Schwann cell, extracellular matrix (ECM) and trophic factors can provide the environment for the regeneration of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons in adult rats. Six kinds of artificial grafts were used: ECM (control); ECM and Schwann cells; ECM, Schwann cells and either nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4); ECM, Schwann cells, BDNF and NT-4, combined with intravitreal injection of BDNF. The grafts were transplanted onto the transected optic nerve. RGC regeneration was evaluated by diI retrograde labeling, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy at 3 weeks post-operation. The degree of diI labeled RGC was approximately 2% for ECM alone, and 10% for ECM and Schwann cells (p < 0.01). The labeling increased to approximately 20% by administration of neurotrophins. The addition of intravitreous BDNF injection resulted in highest labeling percentage of 30%. Immunohistochemical study showed that axons were association with GAP-43 and cell adhesion molecules. Neurotrophin receptors (Trk-A and Trk-B) were detected in nerve fibers both in the retina and in the graft. Remyelination was seen by electron microscopic observation. These results demonstrate that the regeneration of RGC axons is induced with the use of cultured Schwann cells and ECM as promoting factors for regrowth. The degree of regeneration was significantly increased by neurotrophins in the grafts and in the vitreous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Neurotrophins
  • Regeneration
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Schwann cell
  • Transplantation


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