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Micro-Nanostructured Polyaniline Assembled in Cellulose Matrix via Interfacial Polymerization for Applications in Nerve Regeneration

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posted on 17.06.2016, 00:00 by Dingfeng Xu, Lin Fan, Lingfeng Gao, Yan Xiong, Yanfeng Wang, Qifa Ye, Aixi Yu, Honglian Dai, Yixia Yin, Jie Cai, Lina Zhang
Conducting polymers have emerged as frontrunners to be alternatives for nerve regeneration, showing a possibility of the application of polyaniline (PANI) as the nerve guidance conduit. In the present work, the cellulose hydrogel was used as template to in situ synthesize PANI via the limited interfacial polymerization method, leading to one conductive side in the polymer. PANI sub-micrometer dendritic particles with mean diameter of ∼300 nm consisting of the PANI nanofibers and nanoparticles were uniformly assembled into the cellulose matrix. The hydrophobic PANI nanoparticles were immobilized in the hydrophilic cellulose via the phytic acid as “bridge” at presence of water through hydrogen bonding interaction. The PANI/cellulose composite hydrogels exhibited good mechanical properties and biocompatibility as well as excellent guiding capacity for the sciatic nerve regeneration of adult Sprague–Dawley rats without any extra treatment. On the basis of the fact that the pure cellulose hydrogel was an inert material for the neural repair, PANI played an indispensable role on the peripheral nerve regeneration. The hierarchical micro-nanostructure and electrical conductivity of PANI could remarkably induce the adhesion and guiding extension of neurons, showing its great potential in biomedical materials.