Preferential enhancement of sensory and motor axon regeneration by combining extracellular matrix components with neurotrophic factors

Daniel Santos, Francisco González-Pérez, Guido Giudetti, Silvestro Micera, Esther Udina, Jaume Del Valle, Xavier Navarro

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21 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. After peripheral nerve injury, motor and sensory axons are able to regenerate but inaccuracy of target reinnervation leads to poor functional recovery. Extracellular matrix (ECM) components and neurotrophic factors (NTFs) exert their effect on different neuronal populations creating a suitable environment to promote axonal growth. Here, we assessed in vitro and in vivo the selective effects of combining different ECM components with NTFs on motor and sensory axons regeneration and target reinnervation. Organotypic cultures with collagen, laminin and nerve growth factor (NGF)/neurotrophin-3 (NT3) or collagen, fibronectin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) selectively enhanced sensory neurite outgrowth of DRG neurons and motor neurite outgrowth from spinal cord slices respectively. For in vivo studies, the rat sciatic nerve was transected and repaired with a silicone tube filled with a collagen and laminin matrix with NGF/NT3 encapsulated in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres (MP) (LM + MP.NGF/NT3), or a collagen and fibronectin matrix with BDNF in PLGA MPs (FN + MP.BDNF). Retrograde labeling and functional tests showed that LM + MP.NGF/NT3 increased the number of regenerated sensory neurons and improved sensory functional recovery, whereas FN + MP.BDNF preferentially increased regenerated motoneurons and enhanced motor functional recovery. Therefore, combination of ECM molecules with NTFs may be a good approach to selectively enhance motor and sensory axons regeneration and promote appropriate target reinnervation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • BDNF
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Motor axons
  • NGF
  • NT3
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Reinnervation
  • Sensory axons


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