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Cell-encapsulated chitosan-collagen hydrogel hybrid nerve guidance conduit for peripheral nerve regeneration

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Nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) composed of biocompatible polymers have been attracting attention as an alternative for autograft surgery in peripheral nerve regeneration. However, the nerve tissues repaired by NGCs often tend to be inadequate and lead to functional failure because of the lack of cellular supports. This paper presents a chitosan-collagen hydrogel conduit containing cells to induce peripheral nerve regeneration with cellular support. The conduit composed of two coaxial hydrogel layers of chitosan and collagen is simply made by molding and mechanical anchoring attachment with holes made on the hydrogel tube. A chitosan layer strengthens the conduit mechanically, and a collagen layer provides a scaffold for cells supporting the axonal extension. The conduits of different diameters (outer diameter approximately 2–4 mm) are fabricated. The conduit is bioabsorbable with lysozyme, and biocompatible even under bio absorption. In the neuron culture demonstration, the conduit containing Schwann cells induced the extension of the axon of neurons directed to the conduit. Our easily fabricated conduit could help the high-quality regeneration of peripheral nerves and contribute to the nerve repair surgery.

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This work was partly supported by Translational Research program; Strategic PRomotion for practical application of INnovative medical Technology (TR-SPRINT) from Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), Japan.

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Correspondence to Hiroaki Onoe.

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Itai, S., Suzuki, K., Kurashina, Y. et al. Cell-encapsulated chitosan-collagen hydrogel hybrid nerve guidance conduit for peripheral nerve regeneration. Biomed Microdevices 22, 81 (2020).

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