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Gelatin-methacrylamide gel loaded with microspheres to deliver GDNF in bilayer collagen conduit promoting sciatic nerve growth

Authors Zhuang H, Bu S, Hua L, Darabi MA, Cao X, Xing MMQ

Received 14 September 2015

Accepted for publication 3 December 2015

Published 1 April 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 1383—1394

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S96324

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster


Hai Zhuang,1–3 Shoushan Bu,1 Lei Hua,1 Mohammad A Darabi,2,3 Xiaojian Cao,4 Malcolm Xing2,3

1Department of Stomatology, The First Affiliated Hospital with Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Biochemistry & Medical Genetics, 3Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; 4Department of Orthopedics, The First Affiliated Hospital with Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: In this study, we fabricated glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)-loaded microspheres, then seeded the microspheres in gelatin-methacrylamide hydrogel, which was finally integrated with the commercial bilayer collagen membrane (Bio-Gide®). The novel composite of nerve conduit was employed to bridge a 10 mm long sciatic nerve defect in a rat. GDNF-loaded gelatin microspheres had a smooth surface with an average diameter of 3.9±1.8 µm. Scanning electron microscopy showed that microspheres were uniformly distributed in both the GelMA gel and the layered structure. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in vitro release studies (pH 7.4) of GDNF from microspheres exhibited an initial burst release during the first 3 days (18.0%±1.3%), and then, a prolonged-release profile extended to 32 days. However, in an acidic condition (pH 2.5), the initial release percentage of GDNF was up to 91.2%±0.9% within 4 hours and the cumulative release percentage of GDNF was 99.2%±0.2% at 48 hours. Then the composite conduct was implanted in a 10 mm critical defect gap of sciatic nerve in a rat. We found that the nerve was regenerated in both conduit and autograft (AG) groups. A combination of electrophysiological assessment and histomorphometry analysis of regenerated nerves showed that axonal regeneration and functional recovery in collagen tube filled with GDNF-loaded microspheres (GM + CT) group were similar to AG group (P>0.05). Most myelinated nerves were matured and arranged densely with a uniform structure of myelin in a neat pattern along the long axis in the AG and GM + CT groups, however, regenerated nerve was absent in the BLANK group, left the 10 mm gap empty after resection, and the nerve fiber exhibited a disordered arrangement in the collagen tube group. These results indicated that the hybrid system of bilayer collagen conduit and GDNF-loaded gelatin microspheres combined with gelatin-methacrylamide hydrogels could serve as a new biodegradable artificial nerve guide for nerve tissue engineering.

Keywords: controlled release of GDNF, gelatin microspheres, biodegradable nerve conduit, gelatin-methacrylamide hydrogel, sciatic nerve regeneration

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