Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
Peripheral nerve transection occurs commonly in traumatic injury, causing deficits distal to the injury site. Conduits for repair currently on the market are hollow tubes; however, they often fail due to slow regeneration over long gaps. To facilitate increased regeneration speed and functional recovery, the ideal conduit should provide biochemically relevant signals and physical guidance cues, thus playing an active role in regeneration. To that end, laminin and lamininpolycaprolactone (PCL) blend nanofibers were fabricated to mimic peripheral nerve basement membrane. In vitro assays established 10% (wt) laminin content is sufficient to retain neurite-promoting effects of laminin. In addition, modified collector plate design to introduce an insulating gap enabled the fabrication of aligned nanofibers. The effects of laminin content and fiber orientation were evaluated in rat tibial nerve defect model. The lumens of conduits were filled with nanofiber meshes of varying laminin content and alignment to assess changes in motor and sensory recovery. Retrograde nerve conduction speed at 6 weeks was significantly faster in animals receiving aligned nanofiber conduits than in those receiving random nanofiber conduits. Animals receiving nanofiber-filled conduits showed some conduction in both anterograde and retrograde directions, whereas in animals receiving hollow conduits, no impulse conduction was detected. Aligned PCL nanofibers significantly improved motor function; aligned laminin blend nanofibers yielded the best sensory function recovery. In both cases, nanofiber-filled conduits resulted in better functional recovery than hollow conduits. These studies provide a firm foundation for the use of naturalsynthetic blend electrospun nanofibers to enhance existing hollow nerve guidance conduits.
Original Publication Citation
Neal, R. A., Tholpady, S. S., Foley, P. L., Swami, N., Ogle, R. C., & Botchwey, E. A. (2012). Alignment and composition of laminin-polycaprolactone nanofiber blends enhance peripheral nerve regeneration. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 100A(2), 406-423. doi:10.1002/jbm.a.33204
Neal, Rebekah A.; Tholpady, Sunil S.; Foley, Patricia L.; Swami, Nathan; Ogle, Roy C.; and Botchwey, Edward A., "Alignment and Composition of Laminin-Polycaprolactone Nanofiber Blends Enhance Peripheral Nerve Regeneration" (2012). Medical Diagnostics & Translational Sciences Faculty Publications. 29.