Monday, 16 November 2015 07:53

Evaluation of biodegradable polymer conduits – poly(l-lactic acid) – for guiding sciatic nerve regeneration in mice

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Abstract

  • Polymeric biomaterials are often used for stimulating nerve regeneration. Among different conduits, poly(lactide acid) – PLA polymer is considered to be a good substrate due to its biocompatibility and resorbable characteristics. This polymer is an aliphatic polyester which has been mostly used in biomedical application. It is an organic compound with low allergenic potential, low toxicity, high biocompatibility and predictable kinetics of degradation. In this study we fabricated and evaluated a PLA microporous hollow fiber as a conduit for its ability to bridge a nerve gap in a mouse sciatic nerve injury model. The PLA conduit was prepared from a polymer solution, throughout extrusion technique. The left sciatic nerve of C57BL/6 mouse was transected and the nerve stumps were placed into a resorbable PLA (PLA group) or a PCL conduit (PCL group), n = 5 each group. We have also used another group in which the nerves were repaired by autograft (autograft group, n = 5). Motor function was analyzed according to sciatic functional index (SFI). After 56 days, the regenerated nerves were processed for light and electron microscopy and morphometric analyses were performed. A quantitative analysis of regenerated nerves showed significant increase in the number of myelinated fibers and blood vessels in animals that received PLA conduit. The PLA group exhibited better overall tissue organization compared to other groups. Presenting well-organized bundles, many regenerating clusters composed of preserved nerve fibers surrounded by layers of compacted perineurium-like cells. Also the SFI revealed a significant improvement in functional recovery. This work suggests that PLA conduits are suitable substrate for cell survival and it provides an effective strategy to be used to support axonal growth becoming a potential alternative to autograft.

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