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Brain Res Bull. 2010 Oct 30;83(5):207-13. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2010.07.001. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

BD™ PuraMatrix™ peptide hydrogel seeded with Schwann cells for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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1
Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå University, Sweden. aleksandra.mcgrath@anatomy.umu.se

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of a membrane conduit filled with a synthetic matrix BD™ PuraMatrix™ peptide (BD) hydrogel and cultured Schwann cells on regeneration after peripheral nerve injury in adult rats. After sciatic axotomy, a 10mm gap between the nerve stumps was bridged using ultrafiltration membrane conduits filled with BD hydrogel or BD hydrogel containing Schwann cells. In control experiments, the nerve defect was bridged using either membrane conduits with alginate/fibronectin hydrogel or autologous nerve graft. Axonal regeneration within the conduit was assessed at 3 weeks and regeneration of spinal motoneurons and recovery of muscle weight evaluated at 16 weeks postoperatively. Schwann cells survived in the BD hydrogel both in culture and after transplantation into the nerve defect. Regenerating axons grew significantly longer distances within the conduits filled with BD hydrogel when compared with the alginate/fibronectin hydrogel and alginate/fibronectin with Schwann cells. Addition of Schwann cells to the BD hydrogel considerably increased regeneration distance with axons crossing the injury gap and entering into the distal nerve stump. The conduits with BD hydrogel showed a linear alignment of nerve fibers and Schwann cells. The number of regenerating motoneurons and recovery of the weight of the gastrocnemius muscle was inferior in BD hydrogel and alginate/fibronectin groups compared with nerve grafting. Addition of Schwann cells did not improve regeneration of motoneurons or muscle recovery. The present results suggest that BD hydrogel with Schwann cells could be used within biosynthetic conduits to increase the rate of axonal regeneration across a nerve defect.

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