Project related news and papers

Project related news and papers (80)

Polymeric fibers are of increasing interest to regenerative medicine, as materials made from these fibers are porous, allowing for cell infiltration, influx of nutrients, and efflux of waste products. Recently, multilayered coextrusion has emerged as a scalable and rapid fabrication method to yield microscale to submicron fibers. In this report, we describe the multilayered coextrusion of aligned poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers, followed by a simple photochemical patterning to create surface-immobilized gradients onto the polymer fibers. PCL fibers were photochemically decorated with a linear gradient of propargyl benzophenone using a gradient photomask to control light source intensity. The pendant alkynes were then able to undergo the copper-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition reaction with an azide-modified IKVAV peptide to further functionalize the surface. Gradient-modified IKVAV fibers were evaluated for neural cell adhesion and neural differentiation, using PC-12 cells cultured onto the fibers. The aligned gradient fibers provided directional cues for neurite outgrowth and alignment of neural cells, as observed by cellular elongation, neurite differentiation, and orientation. The work presented herein describes a scalable fiber system combined with simple chemical patterning to generate aligned fibers with controlled surface gradients as cell-seeding scaffolds.

 

Follow link

Abstract

  • The clinical effects of 2-mm small gap sleeve bridging of the biological conduit to repair peripheral nerve injury are better than in the traditional epineurium suture, so it is possible to replace the epineurium suture in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury. This study sought to identify the regeneration law of nerve fibers in the biological conduit. A nerve regeneration chamber was constructed in models of sciatic nerve injury using 2-mm small gap sleeve bridging of a biodegradable biological conduit. The results showed that the biological conduit had good histocompatibility. Tissue and cell apoptosis in the conduit apparently lessened, and regenerating nerve fibers were common. The degeneration regeneration law of Schwann cells and axons in the conduit was quite different from that in traditional epineurium suture. During the prime period for nerve fiber regeneration (2-8 weeks), the number of Schwann cells and nerve fibers was higher in both proximal and distal ends, and the effects of the small gap sleeve bridging method were better than those of the traditional epineurium suture. The above results provide an objective and reliable theoretical basis for the clinical application of the biological conduit small gap sleeve bridging method to repair peripheral nerve injury.

Follow link

Abstract

  • The peripheral nervous system has a limited innate capacity for self-repair following injury, and surgical intervention is often required. For injuries greater than a few millimeters autografting is standard practice although it is associated with donor site morbidity and is limited in its availability. Because of this, nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) can be viewed as an advantageous alternative, but currently have limited efficacy for short and large injury gaps in comparison to autograft. Current commercially available NGC designs rely on existing regulatory approved materials and traditional production methods, limiting improvement of their design. The aim of this study was to establish a novel method for NGC manufacture using a custom built laser-based microstereolithography (μSL) setup that incorporated a 405 nm laser source to produce 3D constructs with ∼50 μm resolution from a photocurable poly(ethylene glycol) resin. These were evaluated by SEM, in vitro neuronal, Schwann and dorsal root ganglion culture and in vivo using a thy-1-YFP-H mouse common fibular nerve injury model. NGCs with dimensions of 1 mm internal diameter × 5 mm length with a wall thickness of 250 μm were fabricated and capable of supporting re-innervation across a 3 mm injury gap after 21 days, with results close to that of an autograft control. The study provides a technology platform for the rapid microfabrication of biocompatible materials, a novel method for in vivo evaluation, and a benchmark for future development in more advanced NGC designs, biodegradable and larger device sizes, and longer-term implantation studies.

Follow link

tube.png

 

Scientists at Sheffield University are doing work in additive manufacturing and 3D printing that pushes the boundaries of the technology to the limit, and their most recent announcement is very much in keeping with their previous breakthroughs.

 

Follow link

Related Paper link

In this study, we developed a novel artificial nerve graft termed self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffold (SAPNS)-containing poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) conduit (SPC) and used it to bridge a 10-mm-long sciatic nerve defect in the rat. Retrograde tracing, behavioral testing and histomorphometric analyses showed that compared with the empty PLGA conduit implantation group, the SPC implantation group had a larger number of growing and extending axons, a markedly increased diameter of regenerated axons and a greater thickness of the myelin sheath in the conduit. Furthermore, there was an increase in the size of the neuromuscular junction and myofiber diameter in the target muscle. These findings suggest that the novel artificial SPC nerve graft can promote axonal regeneration and remyelination in the transected peripheral nerve and can be used for repairing peripheral nerve injury.

Follow link

Abstract

  • Peripheral nerve injuries are often associated with loss of nerve tissue and require a graft to bridge the gap. Autologous nerve grafts are still the 'gold standard' in reconstructive surgery but have several disadvantages, such as sacrifice of a functional nerve, neuroma formation and loss of sensation at the donor site. Bioengineered grafts represent a promising approach to address this problem. In this study, poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) strips were used to bridge a 10 mm rat sciatic nerve gap and their effects on long-term (12 weeks) nerve regeneration were compared. PHB strips were seeded with different cell types, either primary Schwann cells (SCs) or SC-like differentiated adipose-derived stem cells (dASCs) suspended in a fibrin glue matrix. The control group was PHB and fibrin matrix without cells. Functional and morphological properties of the regenerated nerve were assessed using walking track analysis, EMGs, muscle weight ratios and muscle and nerve histology. The animals treated with PHB strips seeded with SCs or dASCs showed significantly better functional ability than the control group. This correlated with less muscle atrophy and greater axon myelination in the cell groups. These findings suggest that the PHB strip seeded with cells provides a beneficial environment for nerve regeneration. Furthermore, dASCs, which are abundant and easily accessible, constitute an attractive cell source for future applications of cell therapy for the clinical repair of traumatic nerve injuries. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Follow link

Abstract: Peripheral nerve injury is a worldwide clinical problem which could lead to loss of neuronal communication along sensory and motor nerves between the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral organs and impairs the quality of life of a patient. The primary requirement for the treatment of complete lesions is a tension-free, end-to-end repair. When end-to-end repair is not possible, peripheral nerve grafts or nerve conduits are used. The limited availability of autografts, and drawbacks of the allografts and xenografts like immunological reactions, forced the researchers to investigate and develop alternative approaches, mainly nerve conduits. In this review, recent information on the various types of conduit materials (made of biological and synthetic polymers) and designs (tubular, fibrous, and matrix type) are being presented.

Follow link

Abstract

  • Neurally controlled prosthetics that cosmetically and functionally mimic amputated limbs remain a clinical need because state of the art neural prosthetics only provide a fraction of a natural limb's functionality. Here, we report on the fabrication and capability of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and epoxy-based SU-8 photoresist microchannel scaffolds to serve as viable constructs for peripheral nerve interfacing through in vitro and in vivo studies in a sciatic nerve amputee model where the nerve lacks distal reinnervation targets. These studies showed microchannels with 100 μm × 100 μm cross-sectional areas support and direct the regeneration/migration of axons, Schwann cells, and fibroblasts through the microchannels with space available for future maturation of the axons. Investigation of the nerve in the distal segment, past the scaffold, showed a high degree of organization, adoption of the microchannel architecture forming ‘microchannel fascicles’, reformation of endoneurial tubes and axon myelination, and a lack of aberrant and unorganized growth that might be characteristic of neuroma formation. Separate chronic terminal in vivo electrophysiology studies utilizing the microchannel scaffolds with permanently integrated microwire electrodes were conducted to evaluate interfacing capabilities. In all devices a variety of spontaneous, sensory evoked and electrically evoked single and multi-unit action potentials were recorded after five months of implantation. Together, these findings suggest that microchannel scaffolds are well suited for chronic implantation and peripheral nerve interfacing to promote organized nerve regeneration that lends itself well to stable interfaces. Thus this study establishes the basis for the advanced fabrication of large-electrode count, wireless microchannel devices that are an important step towards highly functional, bi-directional peripheral nerve interfaces.

Follow link

Abstract

  • Bilayer poly(l-lactic acid) fibrous scaffolds consisting of a thin aligned-fiber layer (AFL) and a relatively thick random-fiber layer (RFL) were fabricated by an electrospinning technique, which uses two slowly rotating parallel disks as the collector. The morphology and structure of the bilayer scaffolds were examined by high-magnification scanning electron microscopy and confocal microscopy. The bilayer scaffolds demonstrated a gradual variation in through-thickness porosity and fiber alignment and an average porosity much higher than that of conventionally electrospun scaffolds (controls) with randomly distributed fibers. The biocompatibility and biological performance of the bilayer fibrous scaffolds were evaluated by in vivo experiments involving subcutaneous scaffold implantation in Sprague–Dawley rats, followed by histology and immunohistochemistry studies. The results illustrate the potential of the bilayer scaffolds to overcome major limitations of conventionally electrospun scaffolds associated with intrinsically small pores, low porosity and, consequently, poor cell infiltration. The significantly higher porosity and larger pore size of RFL enhances cell motility through the scaffold thickness, whereas the relatively dense structure of AFL provides the scaffold with the necessary mechanical strength. The bilayer scaffolds show more than two times higher cell infiltration than controls during implantation in vivo. The unique structure of the bilayer scaffolds promotes collagen fiber deposition, cell proliferation, and ingrowth of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells in vivo. The results of this study illustrate the high prospect of the fabricated bilayer fibrous scaffolds in tissue engineering and regeneration.

Follow link

 

Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

 

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison created the microtube platform to study neuron growth. They posit that the microtubes could one day be implanted like stents to promote neuron regrowth at injury sites or to treat disease.

 

“This is a powerful 3D platform for neuron culture,” said Xiuling Li, professor of electrical and computer engineering at U. of I., who co-led the study along with UW-Madison professor Justin Williams. “We can guide, accelerate and measure the process of neuron growth, all at once.”

 

 

The team published the results in the journal ACS Nano.

 

The biggest challenge facing researchers trying to culture neurons for study is that it’s very difficult to recreate the soft, 3D environment of the brain. Other techniques have used glass plates or channels carved into hard slabs of material, but the nerve cells look and behave differently than they would in the body. The microtubes provide pliant, 3D scaffolding, the way that the cellular matrix does in the body.

The team uses an array of microtubes, made with a technique developed in Li’s lab for electronics applications such as 3D inductors. Thin membranes of silicon nitride roll themselves up into tubes of precise dimensions. The tubes are about as wide as the cells, as long as a human hair is wide, and spaced apart about as far as they are long. The neurons grow along and through the microtubes, sending out exploratory arms across the gaps to find the next tube.

Froeter devised a way to mount the microtubes on glass slides, the standard for biological cultures. The thin silicon-nitride tubes are transparent, so researchers can watch the live neuron cells as they grow using a conventional microscope.

“Having the ability to see through both the tube and the underlying substrate has been really enlightening,” said Williams, a professor of biomedical engineering at UW-Madison. “Without this we may have noticed an overall increase in growth rates, but we never would have observed the dramatic changes that occur as the cells transition from the flat regions to the tube inlets.”

For Li’s group, the next step is to put electrodes in the microtubes so researchers can measure the electrical signals that the nerves conduct.

“If we place electrodes inside the tube, since they are directly in contact with the axon, we will be able to study signal conduction much better than conventional methods,” Li said.

They also are working to stack the microtubes in multiple layers so that bundles of nerves can grow in a 3D network.

Follow link

Page 3 of 6