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The role of microstructured and interconnected pore channels in a collagen-based nerve guide on axonal regeneration in peripheral nerves

: Bozkurt, A.; Lassner, F.; O'Dey, D.; Deumens, R.; Böcker, A.; Schwendt, T.; Janzen, C.; Suschek, C.V.; Tolba, R.; Kobayashi, E.; Sellhaus, B.; Tholl, S.; Eummelen, L.; Schügner, F.; Olde Damink, L.; Weis, J.; Brook, G.A.; Pallua, N.


Biomaterials 33 (2012), Nr.5, S.1363-1375
ISSN: 0142-9612
ISSN: 1878-5905
Fraunhofer ILT ()

The use of bioengineered nerve guides as alternatives for autologous nerve transplantation (ANT) is a promising strategy for the repair of peripheral nerve defects. In the present investigation, we present a collagen-based micro-structured nerve guide (Perimaix) for the repair of 2 cm rat sciatic nerve defects. Perimaix is an open-porous biodegradable nerve guide containing continuous, longitudinally orientated channels for orientated nerve growth. The effects of these nerve guides on axon regeneration by six weeks after implantation have been compared with those of ANT. Investigation of the regenerated sciatic nerve indicated that Perimaix strongly supported directed axon regeneration. When seeded with cultivated rat Schwann cells (SC), the Perimaix nerve guide was found to be almost as supportive of axon regeneration as ANT. The use of SC from transgenic green-fluorescent-protein (GFP) rats allowed us to detect the viability of donor SC at 1 week and 6 weeks after tra nsplantation. The GFP-positive SC were aligned in a columnar fashion within the longitudinally orientated micro-channels. This cellular arrangement was not only observed prior to implantation, but also at one week and 6 weeks after implantation. It may be concluded that Perimaix nerve guides hold great promise for the repair of peripheral nerve defects.