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Nanomedicine. 2011 Feb;7(1):50-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Emerging nanotechnology approaches in tissue engineering for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.


Effective nerve regeneration and functional recovery subsequent to peripheral nerve injury is still a clinical challenge. Autologous nerve graft transplantation is a feasible treatment in several clinical cases, but it is limited by donor site morbidity and insufficient donor tissue, impairing complete functional recovery. Tissue engineering has introduced innovative approaches to promote and guide peripheral nerve regeneration by using biomimetic conduits creating favorable microenvironments for nervous ingrowth, but despite the development of a plethora of nerve prostheses, few approaches have as yet entered the clinic. Promising strategies using nanotechnology have recently been proposed, such as the use of scaffolds with functionalized cell-binding domains, the use of guidance channels with cell-scale internally oriented fibers, and the possibility of sustained release of neurotrophic factors. This review addresses the fabrication, advantages, drawbacks, and results achieved by the most recent nanotechnology approaches in view of future solutions for peripheral nerve repair.


Peripheral nerve repair strategies are very limited despite numerous advances on the field of neurosciences and regenerative medicine. This review discusses nanotechnology based strategies including scaffolds with functionalized cell binding domains, the use of guidance channels, and the potential use of sustained release neurotropic factors.

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