PloS one

A biosynthetic nerve guide conduit based on silk/SWNT/fibronectin nanocomposite for peripheral nerve regeneration.

PMID 24098649


As a contribution to the functionality of nerve guide conduits (NGCs) in nerve tissue engineering, here we report a conduit processing technique through introduction and evaluation of topographical, physical and chemical cues. Porous structure of NGCs based on freeze-dried silk/single walled carbon nanotubes (SF/SWNTs) has shown a uniform chemical and physical structure with suitable electrical conductivity. Moreover, fibronectin (FN) containing nanofibers within the structure of SF/SWNT conduits produced through electrospinning process have shown aligned fashion with appropriate porosity and diameter. Moreover, fibronectin remained its bioactivity and influenced the adhesion and growth of U373 cell lines. The conduits were then implanted to 10 mm left sciatic nerve defects in rats. The histological assessment has shown that nerve regeneration has taken places in proximal region of implanted nerve after 5 weeks following surgery. Furthermore, nerve conduction velocities (NCV) and more myelinated axons were observed in SF/SWNT and SF/SWNT/FN groups after 5 weeks post implantation, indicating a functional recovery for the injured nerves. With immunohistochemistry, the higher S-100 expression of Schwann cells in SF/SWNT/FN conduits in comparison to other groups was confirmed. In conclusion, an oriented conduit of biocompatible SF/SWNT/FN has been fabricated with acceptable structure that is particularly applicable in nerve grafts.

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