Phillips, James B.; Bunting, Stephen C.J.; Hall, Susan M. and Brown, Robert A.
Neural tissue engineering: A self-organizing collagen guidance conduit.
Tissue Engineering, 11(9-10) pp. 1611–1617.
We report a novel implantable device that will deliver a tethered aligned collagen guidance conduit containing Schwann cells into a peripheral nerve injury site. Cells (Schwann cells and fibroblasts)incorporated into tethered rectangular collagen gels contracted and resulted in uniaxial alignment.
This tissue-engineered construct was tested in three-dimensional culture and demonstrated the ability to guide neurite extension from dissociated dorsal root ganglia. A silicone tube was adapted to provide tethering sites for an implantable construct such that uniaxial cell-generated tension resulted in the formation of a bridge of aligned collagen fibrils, with a resident Schwann cell population.
The potential of this device for surgical nerve regeneration was assessed in a 5-mm defect in a rat sciatic nerve model. Neural regeneration through this device was significantly greater than in controls, demonstrating that this system has potential both as a simple robust clinical implant and as a three-dimensional engineered tissue model.
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