Schwann-spheres derived from injured peripheral nerves in adult mice - their in vitro characterization and therapeutic potential

Takehiko Takagi, Ken Ishii, Shinsuke Shibata, Akimasa Yasuda, Momoka Sato, Narihito Nagoshi, Harukazu Saito, Hirotaka J. Okano, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hideyuki Okano, Masaya Nakamura

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Multipotent somatic stem cells have been identified in various adult tissues. However, the stem/progenitor cells of the peripheral nerves have been isolated only from fetal tissues. Here, we isolated Schwann-cell precursors/immature Schwann cells from the injured peripheral nerves of adult mice using a floating culture technique that we call "Schwann-spheres." The Schwann-spheres were derived from de-differentiated mature Schwann cells harvested 24 hours to 6 weeks after peripheral nerve injury. They had extensive self-renewal and differentiation capabilities. They strongly expressed the immature-Schwann-cell marker p75, and differentiated only into the Schwann-cell lineage. The spheres showed enhanced myelin formation and neurite growth compared to mature Schwann cells in vitro. Mature Schwann cells have been considered a promising candidate for cell-transplantation therapies to repair the damaged nervous system, whereas these "Schwann-spheres" would provide a more potential autologous cell source for such transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21497
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 30


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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