Phillips, James B.; King, Von R.; Ward, Zoë; Porter, Rebecca A.; Priestley, John V. and Brown, Robert A.
Fluid shear in viscous fibronectin gels allows aggregation of fibrous materials for CNS tissue engineering.
Fibronectin (Fn) materials prepared from human plasma have been used in various forms as substrates for tissue engineering. Such purposes require that the soluble protein aggregates into insoluble ﬁbrous structures which encourage the attachment and migration of cells. The method of aggregation due to mechanical shear was investigated by applying ﬂuid shear forces directly to a
viscous solution ofFn. Structural analysis revealed that mechanical shear resulted in the formation ofan orientated ﬁbrous protein material that was less soluble than its non-sheared counterpart. The suitability of this shear aggregated Fn material for CNS repair purposes was assessed in vitro where it supported the growth of ﬁbroblasts, S100 immunoreactive Schwann cells and GFAP
immunoreactive astrocytes. Implantation of the shear aggregated Fn material into a rat model ofspinal cord injury provided a permissive environment for axonal growth. This was extended using an impermeable coating to improve orientation and straightness of axonal growth.
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