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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2011 Jan;17(1):27-38. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2010.0011. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Fabrication of Off-the-Shelf Multilumen Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Nerve Guidance Conduits Using Stereolithography.

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1 W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, College of Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso , El Paso, TX 79968-0521, USA.


A manufacturing process for fabricating off-the-shelf multilumen poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-based nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) was developed that included the use of stereolithography (SL). A rapid fabrication strategy for complex 3D scaffolds incorporated postprocessing with lyophilization and sterilization to preserve the scaffold, creating an implantable product with improved suturability. SL is easily adaptable to changes in scaffold design, is compatible with various materials and cells, and can be expanded for mass manufacture. The fabricated conduits were characterized using optical and scanning electron microscopy, and measurements of swelling ratio, dimensional swelling factor, resistance to compression, and coefficient of friction were performed. Water absorption curves showed that the conduits after lyophilization and sterilization return easily and rapidly to a swollen state when placed in an aqueous solution, successfully maintaining their original overall structure as required for implantation. Postprocessed conduits at the swollen state were less slippery and therefore easier to handle than those without postprocessing. Suture pullout experiments showed that NGCs fabricated with a higher concentration of PEG were better able to resist suture pullout. NGCs having a multilumen design demonstrated a better resistance to compression than a single-lumen design with an equivalent surface area, as well as a greater force required to collapse the design. Conduits fabricated with a higher PEG concentration were shown to have compressive resistances comparable to those of commercially available NGCs. The use of SL with PEG and the manufacturing process developed here shows promise for improving the current state of the art in peripheral nerve repair strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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