Project related news and papers

Project related news and papers (83)

We studied regeneration of rat sciatic nerve while overcoming of a 5-mm diastasis with the aid of nanostructured conduit made of biocompatible and biodegradable poly(ε-caprolactone) and filled with fibrin hydrogel matrix. Implantation of the conduit into the nerve in combination with local delivery of the expression plasmid carrying genes encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (vegf) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (fgf2) leads to an increase in number of myelinated fibers and S-100+ cells in the peripheral nerve stump and improved recovery of the nerve function. Under conditions of direct gene therapy, an advantage of electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) conduit with high-porosity was revealed on the basis of these criteria in comparison with biocompatible silicon conduit.

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Abstract

  • Schwann cells play a key role in peripheral nerve growth and regeneration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of RGD peptides on Schwann cell behavior, and to identify the effects of the modified PDLLA films with RGD in vivo. The results revealed that RGD coating with the concentration of 100–500 ug/mL promoted the cell proliferation and boosted the cell migration. Molecularly, RGD coating also enhanced the expression of the proliferation related genes (c-fos and c-jun) and the cell behavior related genes (actin, tublin, tau and MAP1) at first stages of the seeding, which is similar to the effects from laminin coating. In vivo, RGD addition improved the recovery efficiency of the transected nerve in regard of the more survived Schwann cells in vivo and the formation of more mature myelin sheath. Taken together, RGD peptides are good candidates to enhance the biocompatibility of the biomaterials and facilitate the peripheral nerve regeneration by prompting responses in Schwann cells.

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Objective: Guiding Regeneration Gel (GRG) was developed in response to the clinical need of improving treatment for peripheral nerve injuries and help patients regenerate massive regional losses in peripheral nerves. The efficacy of GRG based on tissueengineering technology for the treatment of complete peripheral nerve injury with significant loss defect was investigated.
Background: Many severe peripheral nerve injuries can only be treated through surgical reconstructive procedures. Such procedures are challenging, since functional recovery is slow and can be unsatisfactory. One of most promising solutions already in clinical practice is synthetic nerve conduits connecting the ends of damaged nerve supporting nerve regeneration. However, this solution still does not enable recovery of massive nerve loss defect. The proposed technology is a biocompatible and biodegradable gel enhancing axonal growth and nerve regeneration. It is composed of a complex of substances comprising transparent, highly viscous gel resembles the extracellular matrix that is almost impermeable to liquids and gasses, flexible, elastic, malleable and adaptable to various shapes and formats. Pre-clinical study on rat model of peripheral nerve injury showed that GRG enhanced nerve regeneration when placed in nerve conduits, enabling recovery of massive nerve loss, previously unbridgeable and enabled nerve regeneration at least  as good as with autologous nerve graft ‘gold standard’ treatment.

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  • 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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