Living Scaffolds For Nerve Regeneration

Via ScienceDaily: researchers "have engineered transplantable living nerve tissue that encourages and guides regeneration in an animal model. ... We have designed a cylinder that looks similar to the longitudinal arrangement of the nerve axon bundles before it was damaged. The long bundles of axons span two populations of neurons, and these neurons can have axons growing in two directions - toward each other and into the host tissue at each side. ... The constructs were transplanted to bridge an excised segment of the sciatic nerve in rats. Up to 16 weeks post-transplantation, the constructs still had their pre-transplant shape, with surviving transplanted neurons at the extremities of the constructs spanned by tracts of axons. Remarkably, the host axons appeared to use the transplanted axons as a living scaffold to regenerate across the injury. ... the constructs survived and integrated without the use of immunosuppressive drugs, challenging the conventional wisdom regarding immune tolerance in the peripheral nervous system."

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319160122.htm

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