Researchers looking for ways to regenerate nerves can have a hard time obtaining key tools of their trade.
Schwann cells are an example. They form sheaths around axons, the tail-like parts of nerve cells that carry electrical impulses. They promote regeneration of those axons. And they secrete substances that promote the health of nerve cells.
In other words, they’re very useful to researchers hoping to regenerate nerve cells, specifically peripheral nerve cells, those cells outside the brain and spinal cord.
But Schwann cells are hard to come by in useful numbers.
So researchers have been taking readily available and noncontroversial mesenchymal stem cells