A combination of insulin-like growth factor-I and platelet-derived growth factor enhances myelination but diminishes axonal regeneration into schwann cell grafts in the adult rat spinal cord

Martin Oudega, Xiao Ming Xu, Véronique Guénard, Naomi Kleitman, Mary Bartlett Bunge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Scopus citations


Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) promotes axonal regeneration in the peripheral nervous system and this effect is enhanced by platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). We decided, therefore, to study the effects of these factors on axonal regeneration in the adult rat spinal cord. Semipermeable polymer tubes, closed at the distal end, containing Matrigel mixed with cultured rat Schwann cells and IGF-I/PDGF, were placed at the proximal stump of the spinal cord after removal of the thoracic T9-11 segments. Control animals received implants of only Matrigel and Schwann cells or only Matrigel and IGF-I/PDGF. Four weeks after implantation, electron microscopic analysis showed that the addition of IGF-UPDGF resulted in an increase in the myelinated:unmyelinated fiber ratio from 1:7 to 1:3 at 3 mm in the Schwann cell graft, and that myelin sheath thickness was increased 2-fold. The reduced number of unmyelinated axons was striking in electron micrographs. These results suggested that IGF-I/PDGF enhanced myelin formation of regenerated axons in Schwann cell implants, but there was a 36% decrease in the total number of myelinated axons at the 3 mm level of the graft. This finding and the altered myelinated:unmyelinated fiber ratio revealed that the overall fiber regeneration into Schwann cell implants was diminished up to 63% by IGF-I/PDGF. Histological evaluation revealed that there were more larger cavities in tissue at the proximal spinal cord-graft interface in animals receiving a Schwann cell implant with IGF-I/PDGF. Such cavitation might have contributed to the reduction in axonal ingrowth. In sum, the results indicate that whereas the combination of IGF-I and PDGF enhances myelination of regenerating spinal cord axons entering implants of Matrigel and Schwann cells after midthoracic transection, the overall regeneration of axons into such Schwann cell grafts is diminished.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997



  • CNS regeneration
  • Schwan cell
  • axotomy
  • myelination
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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