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Biomaterials. 2009 Sep;30(26):4325-35. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.04.042. Epub 2009 Jun 7.

Polypyrrole-coated electrospun PLGA nanofibers for neural tissue applications.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.


Electrospinning is a promising approach to create nanofiber structures that are capable of supporting adhesion and guiding extension of neurons for nerve regeneration. Concurrently, electrical stimulation of neurons in the absence of topographical features also has been shown to guide axonal extension. Therefore, the goal of this study was to form electrically conductive nanofiber structures and to examine the combined effect of nanofiber structures and electrical stimulation. Conductive meshes were produced by growing polypyrrole (PPy) on random and aligned electrospun poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanofibers, as confirmed by scanning electron micrographs and X-ray photon spectroscopy. PPy-PLGA electrospun meshes supported the growth and differentiation of rat pheochromocytoma 12 (PC12) cells and hippocampal neurons comparable to non-coated PLGA control meshes, suggesting that PPy-PLGA may be suitable as conductive nanofibers for neuronal tissue scaffolds. Electrical stimulation studies showed that PC12 cells, stimulated with a potential of 10 mV/cm on PPy-PLGA scaffolds, exhibited 40-50% longer neurites and 40-90% more neurite formation compared to unstimulated cells on the same scaffolds. In addition, stimulation of the cells on aligned PPy-PLGA fibers resulted in longer neurites and more neurite-bearing cells than stimulation on random PPy-PLGA fibers, suggesting a combined effect of electrical stimulation and topographical guidance and the potential use of these scaffolds for neural tissue applications.

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