Aligned conductive core-shell biomimetic scaffolds based on nanofiber yarns/hydrogel for enhanced 3D neurite outgrowth alignment and elongation

Wang L, Wu Y, Hu T, Ma PX, Guo B. Acta Biomater

Tissue engineering strategies present potential for craniofacial peripheral nerve regeneration, but challenges remain in directing neuronal outgrowth and extension in the three-dimensional environment to effect repair. While the importance of topographical cues in directing the outgrowth and extension of neurites has been demonstrated, few known methods enable fabrication of scaffolds that mimic the oriented hierarchical structures found within native nerve tissue. A recent article by Wang et al. applied a dry-wet electrospinning method to produce aligned conductive nanofiber yarns comprising polycaprolactone, silk fibroin, and carbon nanotubes to support the culture of a neurite cell line and dorsal root ganglion explants. The aligned fibers were shown to support neurite extension and outgrowth in cell culture. The authors also demonstrated fabrication of a core-shell construct comprising aligned nanofiber yarns seeded with neurites that were then encapsulated in a photocrosslinked hydrogel. The authors suggested that the core-shell constructs enhanced neuronal outgrowth and presented a hydrogel layer mimicking the epineurium to protect nerve cells within it. The innovative approach for fabricating aligned composite constructs mimicking the hierarchical organization of peripheral nerve presents potential to promote neurite alignment and outgrowth in support of craniofacial peripheral nerve regeneration.

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