Peripheral nerve repair through multi-luminal biosynthetic implants

K. E. Tansey, J. L. Seifert, B. Botterman, M. R. Delgado, M. I. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Peripheral nerve damage is routinely repaired by autogenic nerve grafting, often leading to less than optimal functional recovery at the expense of healthy donor nerves. Alternative repair strategies use tubular scaffolds to guide the regeneration of damaged nerves, but despite the progress made on improved structural materials for the nerve tubes, functional recovery remains incomplete. We developed a biosynthetic nerve implant (BNI) consisting of a hydrogel-based transparent multichannel scaffold with luminar collagen matrix as a 3-D substrate for nerve repair. Using a rat sciatic nerve injury model we showed axonal regeneration through the BNI to be histologically comparable to the autologous nerve repair. At 10 weeks post-injury, nerve defects repaired with collagen-filled, single lumen tubes formed single nerve cables, while animals that received the multi-luminal BNIs showed multiple nerve cables and the formation of a perineurial-like layer within the available microchannels. Total numbers of myelinated and unmyelinated axons in the BNI were increased 3-fold and 30%, respectively, compared to collagen tubes. The recovery of reflexive movement confirmed the functional regeneration of both motor and sensory neurons. This study supports the use of multi-luminal BNIs as a viable alternative to autografts in the repair of nerve gap injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1828
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Biosynthetic nerve implant
  • Collagen
  • Multi-luminal nerve repair
  • Peripheral nerve regeneration
  • Sensory fiber regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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