A research group at the muscle physiology and cell biology unit, the Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan, led by Dr. Tetsuro Tamaki, have developed the stem cell isolation method from the skeletal muscle, termed skeletal muscle-derived multipotent stem cells (Sk-MSCs), which can differentiate into Schwann and perineurial/endoneurial cells, and vascular relating pericytes, endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the damaged peripheral nerve niche.
Application of the Sk-MSCs in the bridging conduit of the long nerve gap injury resulted favorable axonal regeneration showing superior effects than healthy nerve autograft, which have been considered gold standard therapy. This also means that the sacrifice of healthy nerves, and the loss of related functions does not need.
Accidental loss of main peripheral nerve route, resulted severe loss of related motor and sensory functions, and if this is the case in arms or legs, largely affects the quality of life. Therefore, application of this method to the human therapy is likely to have a great significance.
The study, reported on Neural Regeneration Research (Vo. 9, No.14, 2014), also introduced that the Sk-MDSCs naturally express multiple neurotrophic and nerve/vascular growth factors. This ability facilitates growth of responsible nerve and vascular cells both in donor and recipient.
This ability also suggested that the Sk-MSCs may be the useful tool as an adjuvant for tissue repair after the large resection surgery. In future research, the potential of human Sk-MSCs needs to be clarified.
Dr. Tamaki stressed that mild cell isolation, and appropriate shorter term expansion culture may be a key factor to obtain better results, in particular, the human Sk-MSCs, and his group is currently investigating these issues.
Article: "Bridging long gap peripheral nerve injury using skeletal muscle-derived multipotent stem cells" by Tetsuro Tamaki (Muscle Physiology & Cell Biology Unit, Department of Regenerative Medicine, Division of Basic Clinical Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan)
Tamaki T. Bridging long gap peripheral nerve injury using skeletal muscle-derived multipotent stem cells. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(14):1333-1336.