Perpheral Neuropathy | Evaluation of Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy for Peripheral Nerve Regeneration: A Critical Review of Literature

From the Department of Hand Surgery, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China

Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) is a common disease in clinic, and the regeneration process of peripheral nerve tissue is slow, and patients with PNI often suffer from the loss of nerve function. At present, related research on the mechanism of peripheral nerve regeneration has become a hot spot, and scholars are also seeking a method that can accelerate the regeneration of peripheral nerve. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a platelet concentrate extracted from autologous blood by centrifugation, which is a kind of bioactive substance. High concentration of platelets can release a variety of growth factors after activation, and can promote the proliferation and differentiation of tissue cells, which can accelerate the process of tissue regeneration. The application of PRP comes from the body, there is no immune rejection reaction, it can promote tissue regeneration with less cost, it is,therefore, widely used in various clinical fields. At present, there are relatively few studies on the application of PRP to peripheral nerve regeneration. This article summarizes the literature in recent years to illustrate the effect of PRP on peripheral nerve regeneration from mechanism to clinical application, and prospects for the application of PRP to peripheral nerve.


Peripheral nerve injury is a common nervous system condition associated with a high disability rate. Currently, the best treatment for nerve injury is restoring nerve continuity through microsurgical tension-free anastomosis or autogenous nerve transplantation. This treatment approach does not improve slow nerve regeneration and incomplete postoperative functional recovery. Thus, regeneration and repair of peripheral nerve injury is the focus of intense research.

Although injured nerve can be reconstructed the continuity, this, however, does not create a suitable microenvironment of nerve regeneration (Fowler et al., 2015). Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of autologous platelets that releases various growth factors, hence promoting tissue regeneration. PRP has many applications. For example, in stomatology, a randomized controlled clinical trial showed that PRP and its derivatives prevent alveolar bone atrophy and enhance alveolar tissue regeneration (Ucak Turer et al., 2020). A multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial in foot and ankle surgery showed that PRP injection outperforms traditional glucocorticoid injection in plantar aponeurosis treatment (Peerbooms et al., 2019). In sports medicine, a double-blind randomized control study showed that PRP injection can effectively improve healing of old meniscus injury (Kaminski et al., 2019). In chronic sports injury treatment, it is reported that pain relief and functional recovery of lateral humeral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) patients receiving PRP are better relative to controls (Mishra et al., 2014Merolla et al., 2017). In joint surgery, local PRP injection effectively relieves pain in patients with knee joint osteoarthritis, promoting functional recovery and its effects are superior to traditional hyaluronic acid (Duymus et al., 2017Lisi et al., 2018). In ophthalmology, PRP can be used to treat secretory dry eye (García-Conca et al., 2019). PRP is also reported to significantly accelerate wound healing (Mohamadi et al., 2019Zhang et al., 2019). PRP applications are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1

www.frontiersin.orgTABLE 1. Summary of clinical application of PRP.

In conclusion, decades of clinical practice show that PRP promotes tissue repair and regeneration. Moreover, this approach does not need special equipment and training, and is cost effective, making it of great value in regenerative medicine (Etulain, 2018). Here, we comprehensively review the effects of PRP on peripheral nerve regeneration, the mechanisms underlying PRP promotion of peripheral nerve regeneration, and PRP clinical applications for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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