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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2014 Aug;102(8):2767-75. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34944. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Effects of borate-based bioactive glass on neuron viability and neurite extension.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130.


Bioactive glasses have recently been shown to promote regeneration of soft tissues by positively influencing tissue remodeling during wound healing. We were interested to determine whether bioactive glasses have the potential for use in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury. In these experiments, degradable bioactive borate glass was fabricated into rods and microfibers. To study the compatibility with neurons, embryonic chick dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were cultured with different forms of bioactive borate glass. Cell viability was measured with no media exchange (static condition) or routine media exchange (transient condition). Neurite extension was measured within fibrin scaffolds with embedded glass microfibers or aligned rod sheets. Mixed cultures of neurons, glia, and fibroblasts growing in static conditions with glass rods and microfibers resulted in decreased cell viability. However, the percentage of neurons compared with all cell types increased by the end of the culture protocol compared with culture without glass. Furthermore, bioactive glass and fibrin composite scaffolds promoted neurite extension similar to that of control fibrin scaffolds, suggesting that glass does not have a significant detrimental effect on neuronal health. Aligned glass scaffolds guided neurite extension in an oriented manner. Together these findings suggest that bioactive glass can provide alignment to support directed axon growth.


alignment; dorsal root ganglia; fibrin scaffolds; microfibers; peripheral nerve injury

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