Peripheral nerve injury is a relatively commonly occurring trauma which seriously compromises the quality of life for many individuals. There is a major need to devise new treatment strategies, and one possible approach is to develop cellular therapies to bioengineer new nerve tissue and/or modulate the endogenous regenerative mechanisms within the peripheral nervous system. In this short review we describe how stem cells isolated from adipose tissue could be a suitable element of this approach. We describe the possible mechanisms through which the stem cells might exert a positive influence on peripheral nerve regeneration. These include their ability to differentiate into cells resembling Schwann cells and their secretion of a plethora of neurotrophic growth factors. We also review the literature describing the effects of these cells when tested using in vivo peripheral nerve injury models.

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