Jesus Acevedo Cintron

Program: Developmental Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology

Current advisor: Susan Mackinnon, MD

Undergraduate university: University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

Research summary
Reconstruction of nerve gap injuries continue to pose a challenge. While nerve autografts are still the gold standard to repair nerve gaps, alternatives, including acellular nerve allografts (ANAs), are highly desired. However, the regenerative potential of these alternatives is restricted by their length, with long ANAs (≥4 cm) supporting limited axonal regeneration. Using a sciatic nerve injury model, we are interested in studying and characterizing differences in the formation and morphology of blood vessels formed inside the ANA, the accumulation of immune cells and the expression of cytokines between short (2 cm) and long (4 cm) ANAs. Preliminary data using morphometric histology shows robust nerve regeneration in 2 cm but not 4 cm ANAs, changes in blood vessel morphology and an increase in the infiltration of immune cells in the 4 cm ANAs when compared to the 2 cm ANAs. This suggests an on-going inflammatory process is happening in the 4 cm ANAs and that this process is causing changes in the morphology of the blood vessels and potentially blocking nerve regeneration in long ANAs. Future experiments will focus on identifying the inflammatory and immune cells present inside the long ANAs, and on using drugs to decrease inflammation inside these long ANAs.

Graduate publications

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