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Nanofiber Nerve Guide for Peripheral Nerve Repair and Regeneration

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Technical Report,03 Dec 2010,02 Jan 2016

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Johns Hopkins University Baltimore United States

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The primary goal of this collaborative research project was to develop next generation engineered nerve guide conduits NGCs with aligned nanofibers and favorable release kinetics of neurotrophic factors to help improve surgical outcomes after injuries involving peripheral nerves. In the first two years of the work, we developed an improved version of the nanofiber NGCs with increased surface area of nanofibers and gradient loading of the neurotrophic factor GDNF Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor. Furthermore, we evaluated their degradation rates in vivo. Next we tested the new nanofiber NGCs in vivo in rats to determine which combination of neurotrophic factors, surface modifications and nanofiber structures are better for peripheral nerve regeneration. Finally, once we identified the optimum combinations for new nanofiber NGCs using the rat peripheral nerve regeneration model, we evaluated the effects of such modifications in a large gap nerve repair in a large animal model using canine peroneal nerve. Our results show that relatively steep gradient of neurotrophic factor release, combined with longitudinally aligned nanofibers of a certain size organized in a S-shape conduit provide the best chance of improving peripheral nerve regeneration.

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