In peripheral axonal regeneration, Schwann cells play an integral role, and Schwann cells transplantation has been shown to enhance axonal outgrowth both in vitro and in vivo. However, harvesting autologous Schwann cells may result in defects to the peripheral nerves of the donor. Thus, Prof. Jong-Ho Lee and team from School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, Korea have confirmed that periodontal ligament stem cells can differentiate into Schwann-like cells.
Their recent study published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 30, 2013) showed that human periodontal ligament stem cells (1 × 106) were injected into the crush-injured left mental nerve in rats. Simultaneously, autologous Schwann cells (1 × 106) and PBS were also injected as controls. The researchers found that human periodontal ligament stem cells and autologous Schwann cells exhibited similar therapeutic effects.
The findings from this study suggest that transplantation of human periodontal ligament stem cells show a potential value in repair of mental nerve injury.