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Acta Biomater. 2013 Jul;9(7):7248-63. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.03.024. Epub 2013 Mar 29.

A synthetic oxygen carrier in fibrin matrices promotes sciatic nerve regeneration in rats.

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Institute of Orthopaedics, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710033, China.


Tissue-engineering nerve conduits have been studied for a long time in bridging large nerve defects. However, the low oxygen availability within the nerve conduits, which results in death of migratory Schwann cells (SC) or loss of the newly formed tissue's function, is still an obstacle for axonal regeneration. Thus, it was hypothesized that an oxygen-enriched conduit would enhance axonal regeneration and functional recovery in vivo. To address this issue, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) enriched fibrin hydrogel was prepared and injected into collagen-chitosan conduits. The conduit containing PFTBA-enriched fibrin hydrogel was then used to bridge a 12-mm sciatic nerve defect in rats. The control rats were bridged with collagen-chitosan conduits filled with fibrin matrices without PFTBA. It was found that axonal regeneration and functional recovery in the combined PFTBA group were significantly higher than those in the control group without PFTBA. Further investigations showed that the mRNA and protein levels of S-100, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor were enhanced by PFTBA at 1 and 3weeks after surgery. However, the mRNA and protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor were in a similar range between the combined PFTBA group and the control group without PFTBA. In addition, immunohistochemical results showed that the morphological appearances of regenerated nerve and survival of SC were enhanced by PFTBA at 4 and 12weeks after surgery. In conclusion, PFTBA-enriched nerve conduit is capable of enhancing axonal regeneration, which provides a new avenue for achieving better functional recovery in the treatment of nerve defect.

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