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Recombinant Spider Silk and Collagen-Based Nerve Guidance Conduits Support Neuronal Cell Differentiation and Functionality in Vitro

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posted on 17.10.2019, 18:40 authored by Kiran Pawar, Georg Welzel, Christian Haynl, Stefan Schuster, Thomas Scheibel
Biomaterial scaffolds are under investigation as therapeutic tools to bridge nerve endings following traumatic peripheral nerve injury. The goal is to develop biocompatible nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) with internal guiding structures that promote longitudinally oriented cell migration and regeneration. In the present study, a nonwoven mesh (NWM) made of a recombinant spider silk protein was processed into a tubular structure, ensuring structural integrity of enclosed microfluidics-produced collagen fibers for cell and neurite guidance. The differentiated type of the neuroblastoma X glioma hybrid cell line NG108-15 was used as a model for studying neuronal differentiation on the individual components and on the complete NGC. Differentiated NG108-15 cells grown on recombinant spider silk NWM and collagen fibers formed neuronal networks and synapses. Additionally, whole-cell patch clamp recordings confirmed that all components supported the differentiation of NG108-15 cells into functional neurons. Our NGC demonstrated that tubes made of recombinant spider silk NWM filled with microfluidics-produced collagen fibers are well suited for peripheral nerve repair.

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