Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have considerable translational potential in a wide variety of clinical disciplines and are the cellular foundation of individualized treatments of auto-immune, cardiac, neurologic and musculoskeletal diseases and disorders. While the cellular mechanisms by which MSCs exert their biological effects remain to be ascertained, it has been hypothesized that MSCs are supportive of local tissue repair through secretion of essential growth factors. Therapeutic applications of MSCs in peripheral nerve repair have recently been reported. This review focuses on how MSCs can promote nerve regeneration by conversion into Schwann-like cells, and discusses differentiation methods including delivery and dosing of naive or differentiated MSCs, as well as in vitro and in vivo outcomes. While MSC-based therapies for nerve repair are still in early stages of development, current progress in the field provides encouragement that MSCs may have utility in the treatment of patients with peripheral nerve injury.
Keywords: Allografts; Delivery method; Differentiation; Schwann cells; Stromal cells.
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