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DOI: 10.1177/0963689720926157


The development of regenerative therapies for central nervous system diseases can likely benefit from an understanding of the peripheral nervous system repair process, particularly in identifying potential gene pathways involved in human nerve repair. This study employed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology to analyze the whole transcriptome profile of the human peripheral nerve in response to an injury. The distal sural nerve was exposed, completely transected, and a 1 to 2 cm section of nerve fascicles was collected for RNA-seq from six participants with Parkinson's disease, ranging in age between 53 and 70 yr. Two weeks after the initial injury, another section of the nerve fascicles of the distal and pre-degenerated stump of the nerve was dissected and processed for RNA-seq studies. An initial analysis between the pre-lesion status and the postinjury gene expression revealed 3,641 genes that were significantly differentially expressed. In addition, the results support a clear transdifferentiation process that occurred by the end of the 2-wk postinjury. Gene ontology (GO) and hierarchical clustering were used to identify the major signaling pathways affected by the injury. In contrast to previous nonclinical studies, important changes were observed in molecular pathways related to antiapoptotic signaling, neurotrophic factor processes, cell motility, and immune cell chemotactic signaling. The results of our current study provide new insights regarding the essential interactions of different molecular pathways that drive neuronal repair and axonal regeneration in humans.

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Cell transplantation



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RNA-seq; Schwann cell; Wallerian degeneration; graft; neurodegenerative diseases; peripheral nerve.