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Use of GDNF-Releasing Nanofiber Nerve Guide Conduits for the Repair of Conus Medullaris/Cauda Equina Injury in the Non-Human Primate

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Annual rept. 30 Sep 2011-29 Sep 2012

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Cauda equina and conus medullaris forms of spinal cord injury result in paralysis, sensory impairment, and autonomic dysfunction. This study investigates the effects of neural repair in nonhuman primates using a GDNF-releasing nerve guidance channel. These studies aim to repair avulsed lumbosacral ventral roots using a bridging strategy. For comparison, the studies will also include the use of a guidance channel without GDNF release and a peripheral nerve graft to bridge the tissue gap. A comprehensive set of electrodiagnostic, imaging, behavioral and anatomical studies will provide detailed information about the outcome of these interventions. During the second year of this project, our studies have continued to make significant progress. We developed an algorithm for presurgical testing of nonhuman primates, including locomotor treadmill studies, pain behavioral assessments, urodynamic recordings, MRI studies, and anal sphincter EMG studies. We also demonstrated the feasibility of lumbosacral ventral root avulsion procedures. We have demonstrated the feasibility of using peripheral nerve grafts and GDNF-releasing nerve guide conduits to bridge tissue gaps between the spinal cord and avulsed ventral roots. All 20 surgeries have been completed and collections of comprehensive functional and imaging data are in progress.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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