RGD-modified nanofibers enhance outcomes in rats after sciatic nerve injury
Nerve injuries requiring surgery are a significant problem without good clinical alternatives to the autograft. Tissue engineering strategies are critically needed to provide an alternative. In this study, we utilized aligned nanofibers that were click-modified with the bioactive peptide RGD for rat sciatic nerve repair. Empty conduits or conduits filled with either non-functionalized aligned nanofibers or RGD-functionalized aligned nanofibers were used to repair a 13 mm gap in the rat sciatic nerve of animals for six weeks. The aligned nanofibers encouraged cell infiltration and nerve repair as shown by histological analysis. RGD-functionalized nanofibers reduced muscle atrophy. During the six weeks of recovery, the animals were subjected to motor and sensory tests. Sensory recovery was improved in the RGD-functionalized nanofiber group by week 4, while other groups needed six weeks to show improvement after injury. Thus, the use of functionalized nanofibers provides cues that aid in in vivo nerve repair and should be considered as a future repair strategy.
Cavanaugh, M; Silantyeva, E; Koh, GP; Malekzadeh, E; Lanzinger, WD; Willits, RK; Becker, ML
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