Thermally drawn fibers as nerve guidance scaffolds

Abstract

Synthetic neural scaffolds hold promise to eventually replace nerve autografts for tissue repair following peripheral nerve injury. Despite substantial evidence for the influence of scaffold geometry and dimensions on the rate of axonal growth, systematic evaluation of these parameters remains a challenge due to limitations in materials processing. We have employed fiber drawing to engineer a wide spectrum of polymer-based neural scaffolds with varied geometries and core sizes. Using isolated whole dorsal root ganglia as an in vitro model system we have identified key features enhancing nerve growth within these fiber scaffolds. Our approach enabled straightforward integration of microscopic topography at the scale of nerve fascicles within the scaffold cores, which led to accelerated Schwann cell migration, as well as neurite growth and alignment. Our findings indicate that fiber drawing provides a scalable and versatile strategy for producing nerve guidance channels capable of controlling direction and accelerating the rate of axonal growth.

Publication
Biomaterials
Ryan A Koppes
Assistant Professor at Northeastern University
Seongjun Park
Assistant Professor at KAIST
Xiaoting Jia
Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech
Polina Anikeeva
Polina Anikeeva
Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering
Associate Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics

My goal is to combine the current knowledge of biology and nanoelectronics to develop materials and devices for minimally invasive treatments for neurological and neuromuscular diseases.

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