Rat facial nerve regeneration with human immature dental pulp stem cells

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Facial paralysis can result in severe implications for the patients. However, stem cell biology has become an important field in regenerative medicine since the discovery and characterization of mesenchymal stem cells. Our aim was to evaluate the regeneration after facial nerve crush injury and application of human immature dental pulp stem cells (iDPSC). For this study 70 Wistar rats underwent a unilateral facial nerve crush injury and were divided into two groups: Group I (GI): Crushed; Group II (GII): Crushed and iDPSC, and distributed into study periods of 3, 7, 14, 21, and 42 postoperative days. Facial nerve regeneration was analyzed via functional recovery of whisker movement, histomorphometric analysis, and immunoblotting assay. The results show that GII had complete functional recovery at 14 days, while GI recovered after 42 days. Also, regarding the facial nerve trunk, GII presented histological improvement, evidencing better axonal and structural organization of the myelin sheath, and exhibited statistically higher values for the outer and inner perimeters and g-ratio. Nevertheless, GI exhibited statistically higher values for the thickness of myelin sheath. In the buccal branch, no differences were observed for all parameters between groups. At 42 days, both groups GI and GII were close to the levels observed for the control group. Concerning nerve growth factor expression, GII exhibited statistically greater values (p < 0.05) compared with the control group at 7 days. In summary, a single injection of human iDPSC promoted a positive effect on regeneration of the facial nerve trunk after 14 days and provided an alternative to support regeneration following peripheral nerve injury.
Saez DM, Sasaki RT, Martins DO, Chacur M, Kerkis I, Silva MCP. Rat facial nerve regeneration with human immature dental pulp stem cells. Cell Transplant.. 2019 Aug;28(12):1573-1584. doi:10.1177/0963689719854446.
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