Purification of Fibroblasts and Schwann Cells from Sensory and Motor Nerves in Vitro

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The principal cells in the peripheral nervous system are the Schwann cells (SCs) and the fibroblasts. Both these cells distinctly express the sensory and motor phenotypes involved in different patterns of neurotrophic factor gene expression and other biological processes, affecting nerve regeneration. The present study has established a protocol to obtain highly purified rat sensory and motor SCs and fibroblasts more rapidly. The ventral root (motor nerve) and the dorsal root (sensory nerve) of neonatal rats (7-days-old) were dissociated and the cells were cultured for 4-5 days, followed by isolation of sensory and motor fibroblasts and SCs by combining differential digestion and differential adherence methods sequentially. The results of immunocytochemistry and flow cytometry analyses showed that the purity of the sensory and motor SCs and fibroblasts were >90%. This protocol can be used to obtain a large number of sensory and motor fibroblasts/SCs more rapidly, contributing to the exploration of sensory and motor nerve regeneration.