Promotion of peripheral nerve regeneration of a peptide compound hydrogel scaffold
Authors Wei G, Yao M, Wang Y, Zhou C, Wan D, Lei P, Wen J, Lei H, Dong D
Received 5 February 2013
Accepted for publication 10 May 2013
Published 22 August 2013 Volume 2013:8(1) Pages 3217—3225
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Guo-Jun Wei,1 Meng Yao,1 Yan-Song Wang,1 Chang-Wei Zhou,1 De-Yu Wan,1 Peng-Zhen Lei,1 Jian Wen,1 Hong-Wei Lei,2 Da-Ming Dong1
1Department of Orthopaedics, The 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, People's Republic of China; 2Department of Rheumatology, The 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, People's Republic of China
Background: Peripheral nerve injury is a common trauma, but presents a significant challenge to the clinic. Silk-based materials have recently become an important biomaterial for tissue engineering applications due to silk’s biocompatibility and impressive mechanical and degradative properties. In the present study, a silk fibroin peptide (SF16) was designed and used as a component of the hydrogel scaffold for the repair of peripheral nerve injury.
Methods: The SF16 peptide’s structure was characterized using spectrophotometry and atomic force microscopy, and the SF16 hydrogel was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy. The effects of the SF16 hydrogel on the viability and growth of live cells was first assessed in vitro, on PC12 cells. The in vivo test model involved the repair of a nerve gap with tubular nerve guides, through which it was possible to identify if the SF16 hydrogel would have the potential to enhance nerve regeneration. In this model physiological saline was set as the negative control, and collagen as the positive control. Walking track analysis and electrophysiological methods were used to evaluate the functional recovery of the nerve at 4 and 8 weeks after surgery.
Results: Analysis of the SF16 peptide’s characteristics indicated that it consisted of a well-defined secondary structure and exhibited self-assembly. Results of scanning electron microscopy showed that the peptide based hydrogel may represent a porous scaffold that is viable for repair of peripheral nerve injury. Analysis of cell culture also supported that the hydrogel was an effective matrix to maintain the viability, morphology and proliferation of PC12 cells. Electrophysiology demonstrated that the use of the hydrogel scaffold (SF16 or collagen) resulted in a significant improvement in amplitude recovery in the in vivo model compared to physiological saline. Moreover, nerve cells in the SF16 hydrogel group displayed greater axon density, larger average axon diameter and thicker myelin compared to those of the group that received physiological saline.
Conclusion: The SF16 hydrogel scaffold may promote excellent axonal regeneration and functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury, and the SF16 peptide may be a candidate for nerve tissue engineering applications.
Keywords: peripheral nerve injury, silk fibroin, peptide, hydrogel, scaffold