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Peripheral nerve regeneration (Tissue engineering)

                                                                 Biohybrid

Aim: To develop a chitosan nerve conduit with optimized properties for the reconstruction of digital nerves. Cooperative project of Medovent GmbH and the Institute of Neuroantomy.
To functionally restore peripheral nerve gaps the regeneration processes have to be optimally supported. This could be achieved by insertion of biodegradable scaffold materials to bridge the nerve gap. Novel modifications of chitosan materials are first evaluated in vitro and selected on the basis of their compatibility properties.  
Optimized nerve transplants are then be sutured between the stumps of adult rat nerves (scitic nerve, median nerve) to bridge nerve gaps. This is either done immediately after injury or with a delay of several weeks in order to simulate clinical situations.
Macroscopic regeneration is evaluated by the appearance of gap bridging tissue reconnecting the nerve ends at the end of the observation period. The outcome of the regeneration process is evaluated by functional and histomorphometrical methods. Electrodiagnostic measurements (nerve conduction velocity) are carried out in the anaesthetised animals by the end of the experiments to evaluate nerve function. Histomorphometrical analysis of semi-thin cross sections through the regenerated tissue elucidates the number of regenerated myelinated axons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aim: To develop an advanced chitosan nerve conduit with a regenerative hydrogel as luminal filler (guiding regenerative gel, GRG). In cooperation with Prof. Shimon Rochkind and Prof. Zvi Nevo, Tel Aviv.
To functionally restore peripheral nerve gaps the regeneration processes have to be optimally supported. This could be achieved by insertion of biodegradable scaffold materials to bridge the nerve gap. Novel modifications of chitosan materials are first evaluated in vitro and selected on the basis of their compatibility properties.
Not only GRG alone but also a tissue engineering concept with transplanted Schwann cells is to be evaluated. Schwann cells are harvested from neonatal rates and either used as naive cells or genetically modified to over-express the regeneration-promoting protein fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2).
GRG-advanced and tissue engineered chitosan nerve guides are used for immediate reconstruction of 15 mm nerve gaps in the rat  sciatic nerve model.
Macroscopic regeneration is evaluated by the appearance of gap bridging tissue reconnecting the nerve ends at the end of the observation period. The outcome of the regeneration process is evaluated by functional and histomorphometrical methods. Von Frey mechanosensitivity tests and electrodiagnostic measurements (nerve conduction velocity) are carried out periodically in the awaken or anaesthetised animals, respectively.  By the end of the experiments to evaluate nerve function. Histomorphometrical analysis of semi-thin cross sections through the regenerated tissue elucidates the number of regenerated myelinated axons.