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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2010 Oct;95(1):161-70. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31696.

Ciliary neurotrophic factor-coated polylactic-polyglycolic acid chitosan nerve conduit promotes peripheral nerve regeneration in canine tibial nerve defect repair.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, the First People's Hospital of Shanghai Medical College, Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200080, China.


A variety of nerve conduits incorporated with chemical and biological factors have been developed to further stimulate nerve regeneration. Although most of the nerve guides in studies are basically limited to bridge a short gap of nerve defect in rat models, it is vital to evaluate effects of conduits on nerve regeneration over distance greater than 20 mm, or more clinically relevant nerve gap lengths in higher mammals. In this study, a poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nerve conduit, treated with pulsed plasma and coated with ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) as well as chitosan, was used to repair 25-mm-long canine tibial nerve defects in eighteen cross-bred dogs. The canines were randomly divided into three groups (n = 6), a 25-mm segment of the tibial nerve was removed and replaced by a PLGA/chitosan-CNTF nerve conduit, PLGA/chitosan conduit and autologous nerve grafts were performed as the control. The results were evaluated by general observation, electromyogram testing, S-100 histological immunostaining, and image analysis at 3 months after operation. The histological results demonstrated that the PLGA/chitosan-CNTF conduits and PLGA/chitosan conduits were capable of leading the damaged axons through the lesioned area. Through the comparison of the three groups, the results in PLGA/chitosan-CNTF conduits group were better than that of PLGA/chitosan conduits group, while they were similar to autologous nerve grafts group. Therefore, CNTF-coated PLGA/chitosan nerve conduits could be an alternative artificial nerve conduit for nerve regeneration.

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