Engineering an artificial nerve graft for the repair of severe nerve injuries

Xavier Navarro, F. J. Rodríguez, D. Ceballos, E. Verdú

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nerve repair with tubes has a limit to regeneration depending upon the length of the gap. The characteristics of the guide, in terms of permeability, durability and adhesiveness, also influence regeneration. Considering the importance of the cellular component in regeneration, the development of artificial grafts, composed of a biocompatible nerve guide filled with a neurotropic matrix and seeded with Schwann cells (SCs), is an interesting option to enhance nerve regeneration and provide an alternative to the classical autologous nerve graft. We evaluated the ability of SCs transplanted into a nerve guide to improve regeneration after sciatic nerve resection, leaving a 6-mm gap, in the mouse. Syngeneic, isogeneic and autologous SCs were suspended in Matrigel and seeded in resorbable guides, and compared to acellular guides and to nerve autografts. The immunogenicity of the transplanted SCs clearly influenced the outcome. Transplants of autologous SCs resulted in only slightly lower levels of reinnervation than autografts, but higher recovery and number of regenerated axons than transplants of isologous and syngeneic SCs, and than acellular guides. Thus, by combined developments on nerve guides, extracellular matrix components and cell transplantation, an artificial graft has been designed that allows axonal regeneration across long gaps to levels comparable with an autograft.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-226
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003

Keywords

  • Axonal regeneration
  • Cell transplants
  • Graft peripheral nerve
  • Schwann cell
  • Tube repair

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