Project related news and papers

Project related news and papers (80)

  • Development and selection of an ideal scaffold is of importance for tissue engineering. Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (PHBHHx) is a biocompatible bioresorbable copolymer that belongs to the polyhydroxyalkanoate family. Because of its good biocompatibility, PHBHHx has been widely used as a cell scaffold for tissue engineering. This review focuses on the utilization of PHBHHx-based scaffolds in tissue engineering. Advances in the preparation, modification, and application of PHBHHx scaffolds are discussed.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 08:05

Nerve Conduits for Peripheral Nerve Surgery

  • Summary: Autologous nerve grafts are the current criterion standard for repair of peripheral nerve injuries when the transected nerve ends are not amenable to primary end-to-end tensionless neurorrhaphy. However, donor-site morbidities such as neuroma formation and permanent loss of function have led to tremendous interest in developing an alternative to this technique. Artificial nerve conduits have therefore emerged as an alternative to autologous nerve grafting for the repair of short peripheral nerve defects of less than 30 mm; however, they do not yet surpass autologous nerve grafts clinically. A thorough understanding of the complex biological reactions that take place during peripheral nerve regeneration will allow researchers to develop a nerve conduit with physical and biological properties similar to those of an autologous nerve graft that supports regeneration over long nerve gaps and in large-diameter nerves. In this article, the authors assess the currently available nerve conduits, summarize research in the field of developing these conduits, and establish areas within this field in which further research would prove most beneficial.

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Purpose/Aim:

To design, synthesize, and test in vivo an aerogel-based top-open peripheral nerve scaffold to simultaneously support and guide multiple completely severed peripheral nerves in a rat model. Also, to explore options for immobilizing severed nerves on the aerogel material without the use of sutures resulting in reduced surgical time. Materials and Method: A novel material and approach was developed for the reattachment of severed peripheral nerves. Nerve confinement and alignment in this case relies on the surface properties of a lightweight, highly porous, polyurea crosslinked silica aerogel scaffold. The distal and proximal ends of completely transected nerve terminals were positioned inside prefabricated “top-open” corrugated channels that cradled approximately two thirds of the circumference of the nerve trunk and connectivity of the severed nerves was evaluated using sciatic function index (SFI) technique for five months post-surgery on 10 female Sprague–Dawley rats then compared with the gold standard for peripheral nerve repair. The interaction of nerves with the surface of the scaffold was investigated also. Results and Conclusion: Multichannel aerogel-based nerve support scaffold showed similar SFI recovery trend as the case suture repair technique. Usage of an adhesion-promoting coating reduced the friction between the nerve and the scaffold leading to slippage and lack of attachment between nerve and surface. The aerogel scaffold used in this study did not collapse under pressure during the incubation period and allowed for a rapid and non-invasive peripheral nerve repair approach without the demands of microsurgery on both time and surgical expertise. This technique may allow for simultaneous repair and reconnection of multiple severed nerves particularly relevant to nerve branching sites.

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Abstract

Background:

This study evaluated whether Schwann-like cells (SLCs) induced from bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) transplanted into acellular nerve grafts (ANGs) could repair nerve defects compared with nerve isografts and ANGs with BM-MSCs.

Methods: BM-MSCs extracted, separated and purified from the bone marrow of rats, and some of the BM-MSCs were cultured with mixed induction agents that could induce BM-MSCs into SLCs. Either SLCs or BM-MSCs were seeded onto 10-mm ANGs, and the isografts were chosen as the control. The walking-track test, tibialis anterior muscle weight measurement, electrophysiological examination, toluidine blue staining, transmission electron micrographs and immunostaining of S-100 and VEGF in these three groups were evaluated in a 10-mm rat sciatic injury-repair model.

Results: The walking-track test, tibialis anterior muscle weight measurement and electrophysiological examination of the sciatic nerve suggested the groups of ANGs with SLCs and isografts obtained better results than the BM-MSC group (P< 0.05). Meanwhile, the results of the SLCs and isograft groups were similar (P> 0.05). All the histomorphometric analyses (toluidine blue staining, transmission electron micrographs and immunostaining of S-100 and VEGF) showed that there were more regenerating nerve fibers in the group of ANGs with SLCs than the BM-MSCs (P< 0.05), but there was no significant difference between the SLC and isograft groups (P>0.05).

Conclusions: SLCs seeded in ANGs and isografts show better functional regeneration compared with BM-MSCs seeded in ANGs. Additionally, SLCs combined with ANGs present almost the same outcome as the isografts. Therefore, SLCs with ANGs can be a good choice in nerve defect repairs.

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Abstract

Tissue engineered nerve grafts (TENGs) have emerged as a potential alternative to autologous nerve grafts, the gold standard for peripheral nerve repair. Typically, TENGs are composed of a biomaterial-based template that incorporates biochemical cues. A number of TENGs have been used experimentally to bridge long peripheral nerve gaps in various animal models, where the desired outcome is nerve tissue regeneration and functional recovery. So far, the translation of TENGs to the clinic for use in humans has met with a certain degree of success. In order to optimize the TENG design and further approach the matching of TENGs with autologous nerve grafts, many new cues, beyond the traditional ones, will have to be integrated into TENGs. Furthermore, there is a strong requirement for monitoring the real-time dynamic information related to the construction of TENGs. The aim of this opinion paper is to specifically and critically describe the latest advances in the field of neural tissue engineering for peripheral nerve regeneration. Here we delineate new attempts in the design of template (or scaffold) materials, especially in the context of biocompatibility, the choice and handling of support cells, and growth factor release systems. We further discuss the significance of RNAi for peripheral nerve regeneration, anticipate the potential application of RNAi reagents for TENGs, and speculate on the possible contributions of additional elements, including angiogenesis, electrical stimulation, molecular inflammatory mediators, bioactive peptides, antioxidant reagents, and cultured biological constructs, to TENGs. Finally, we consider that a diverse array of physicochemical and biological cues must be orchestrated within a TENG to create a self-consistent coordinated system with a close proximity to the regenerative microenvironment of the peripheral nervous system.

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Compared to the nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) constructed from a single layer of aligned nanofibers, bilayer NGCs with random and aligned nanofibers in the outer and inner layers are more robust and tear-resistant during surgical procedures thanks to an isotropic mechanical property provided by the random nanofibers. However, it remains unclear whether the random nanofibers will interfere with the aligned nanofibers to alter the extension pattern of the neurites and impede regeneration. To answer this question, we seeded dorsal root ganglia (DRG) on a double-layered scaffold, with aligned and random nanofibers on the top and bottom layers, respectively, and evaluated the outgrowth of neurites. The random nanofibers in the bottom layer exerted a negative impact on the extension of neurites projecting from the DRG, giving neurites a less ordered structure compared to those cultured on a single layer of aligned nanofibers. The negative impact of the random nanofibers could be effectively mitigated by preseeding the double-layered scaffold with Schwann cells. DRG cultured on top of such a scaffold exhibited a neurite outgrowth pattern similar to that for DRG cultured on a single layer of aligned nanofibers. We further fabricated bilayer NGCs from the double-layered scaffolds and tested their ability to facilitate nerve regeneration in a rat sciatic nerve injury model. Both histomorphometric analysis and functional characterization demonstrated that bilayer NGCs with an inner surface that was preseeded with Schwann cells could reach 54%, 64.2%, and 74.9% of the performance of isografts in terms of nerve fiber number, maximum isometric tetanic force, and mass of the extensor digitorum longus muscle, respectively. It can be concluded that the bilayer NGCs hold great potential in facilitating motor axon regeneration and functional motor recovery.

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Abstract

  • Collagen nerve guides are used clinically for peripheral nerve defects, but their use is generally limited to lesions up to 3 cm. In this study we combined collagen conduits with cells as an alternative strategy to support nerve regeneration over longer gaps. In vitro cell adherence to collagen conduits (NeuraGen® nerve guides) was assessed by scanning electron microscopy. For in vivo experiments, conduits were seeded with either Schwann cells (SC), SC-like differentiated bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (dMSC), SC-like differentiated adipose-derived stem cells (dASC) or left empty (control group), conduits were used to bridge a 1 cm gap in the rat sciatic nerve and after 2-weeks immunohistochemical analysis was performed to assess axonal regeneration and SC infiltration. The regenerative cells showed good adherence to the collagen walls. Primary SC showed significant improvement in distal stump sprouting. No significant differences in proximal regeneration distances were noticed among experimental groups. dMSC and dASC-loaded conduits showed a diffuse sprouting pattern, while SC-loaded showed an enhanced cone pattern and a typical sprouting along the conduits walls, suggesting an increased affinity for the collagen type I fibrillar structure. NeuraGen® guides showed high affinity of regenerative cells and could be used as efficient vehicle for cell delivery. However, surface modifications (e.g. with extracellular matrix molecule peptides) of NeuraGen® guides could be used in future tissue-engineering applications to better exploit the cell potential.

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Abstract

  • Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is known to have applications as medical implants and drug delivery carriers and is consequently in high demand. In the present study the possibilities of harnessing potential PHB-producing vibrios from marine sediments as a new source of PHB was investigated since marine environments are underexplored. Screening of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-producing vibrios from marine sediments was performed using a fluorescent plate assay followed by spectrophotometric analysis of liquid cultures. Out of 828 isolates, Vibrio sp. BTKB33 showed maximum PHA production of 0.21 g/L and PHA content of 193.33 mg/g of CDW. The strain was identified as Vibrio azureus based on phenotypic characterization and partial 16S rDNA sequence analysis. The strain also produced several industrial enzymes: amylase, caseinase, lipase, gelatinase, and DNase. The FTIR analysis of extracted PHA and its comparison with standard PHB indicated that the accumulated PHA is PHB. Bioprocess development studies for enhancing PHA production were carried out under submerged fermentation conditions. Optimal submerged fermentation conditions for enhanced intracellular accumulation of PHA production were found to be 35 °C, pH −7, 1.5 % NaCl concentration, agitation at 120 rpm, 12 h of inoculum age, 2.5 % initial inoculum concentration, and 36 h incubation along with supplementation of magnesium sulphate, glucose, and ammonium chloride. The PHA production after optimization was found to be increased to 0.48 g/L and PHA content to 426.88 mg/g of CDW, indicating a 2.28-fold increase in production. Results indicated that V. azureus BTKB33 has potential for industrial production of PHB.

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We report on the performance of composite nerve grafts with an inner 3D multichannel porous chitosan core and an outer electrospun polycaprolactone shell. The inner chitosan core provided multiple guidance channels for regrowing axons. To analyze the in vivo properties of the bare chitosan cores, we separately implanted them into an epineural sheath. The effects of both graft types on structural and functional regeneration across a 10mm rat sciatic nerve gap were compared to autologous nerve transplantation (ANT). The mechanical biomaterial properties and the immunological impact of the grafts were assessed with histological techniques before and after transplantation in vivo. Furthermore during a 13-week examination period functional tests and electrophysiological recordings were performed and supplemented by nerve morphometry.The sheathing of the chitosan core with a polycaprolactone shell induced massive foreign body reaction and impairment of nerve regeneration. Although the isolatednovel chitosan core did allow regeneration of axons in a similar size distribution as the ANT, the ANT was superior in terms of functional regeneration.We conclude that an outer polycaprolactone shell should not be used for the purpose of bioartificial nerve grafting, while 3D multichannel porous chitosan cores could be candidate scaffolds for structured nerve grafts.

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Biodegradable electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds were coated with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to improve cell adhesion and proliferation. PRP was obtained from human buffy coat, and tested on human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to confirm cell proliferation and cytocompatibility. Then, PRP was adsorbed on the PCL scaffolds via lyophilization, which resulted in a uniform sponge-like coating of 2.85 (S.D. 0.14) mg/mg. The scaffolds were evaluated regarding mechanical properties (Young's modulus, tensile stress and tensile strain), sustained release of total protein and growth factors (PDGF-BB, TGF-β1 and VEGF), and hemocompatibility. MSC seeded on the PRP–PCL nanofibers showed an increased adhesion and proliferation compared to pristine PCL fibers. Moreover, the adsorbed PRP enabled angiogenesis features observed as neovascularization in a chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model. Overall, these results suggest that PRP–PCL scaffolds hold promise for tissue regeneration applications

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