Author(s): Hossain R, Kim B, Pankratz R, Ajam A, Park S,
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Abstract Injuries that result in the loss of limb functionality may be caused by the severing of the peripheral nerves within the affected limb. Several bioengineered peripheral nerve scaffolds have been developed in order to provide the physical support and topographical guidance necessary for the naturally disorganized axon outgrowth to reattach to distal nerve stumps as an alternative to other procedures, like nerve grafting. PDMS has been chosen for the base material of the scaffolds due to its biocompatibility, flexibility, transparency, and well-developed fabrication techniques. The process of observing the axon outgrowth across the nerve gaps with PDMS scaffolds has been challenging due to the limited number and fineness of longitudinal sections that can be extracted from harvested nerve tissue samples after implantation. To address this, multilayer microchannel scaffolds were developed with the object of providing more refined longitudinal observation of axon outgrowth by longitudinally 'sectioning' the device during fabrication, removing the need for much of the sample preparation process. This device was then implanted into the sciatic nerves of Lewis rats, and then harvested after two and four weeks to analyze the difference in nerve regeneration between two different time periods. The present layer by layer structure, which is separable after nerve regeneration and is treated as an individual layer during the histology process, provides the details of biological events during axonal regeneration. Confocal microscopic imaging showed the details of peripheral nerve regeneration including nerve branches and growth cones observable from within the microchannels of the multilayer PDMS microchannel scaffolds.
This article was published in Biomed Microdevices
and referenced in International Journal of Sensor Networks and Data Communications