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Special Topic Issue: Cells Tissues Organs 2014, Vol. 200, No. 1 Functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury is poor, and it has become clear that surgical reconstruction should be combined with novel therapies which address the problems of the limited rate and quantity of axonal regeneration, neuronal cell death and target organ atrophy. There is significant scope for the application of cellular and biological approaches towards peripheral nerve repair. This special topics issue begins with an introduction to the importance of Schwann cell-axon interactions which is followed by a series of papers highlighting the exciting therapeutic potential of various cell types including skin, adipose, bone marrow and hair follicle-derived adult stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and olfactory ensheathing cells. Another biological approach, the use of chondroitinase to overcome nerve scarring, is also described. Finally, noninvasive imaging methods, which will be necessary to determine the efficacy of these novel treatments, are reviewed. The publication will be of interest to a large number of interdisciplinary scientists including cell biologists, biomaterials scientists and chemists as well as surgeons who are involved in translational research aimed at improving the treatment of peripheral nerve injury.
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