For more information contact:
Colly Mitchell, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Contact Colly Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
Bellamkonda’s Research Highlighted in Science
Atlanta (July 10, 2008) — The Role of Aligned Polymer Fiber-based Constructs in the Bridging of Long Peripheral Nerve Gaps
Young-tae Kima, Valerie K. Haftelb, Satish Kumarc and Ravi V. Bellamkonda
Peripheral nerve regeneration across long nerve gaps is clinically challenging. Autografts, the standard of therapy, are limited by availability and other complications. Here, using rigorous anatomical and functional measures, we report that aligned polymer fiber-based constructs present topographical cues that facilitate the regeneration of peripheral nerves across long nerve gaps. Significantly, aligned but not randomly oriented fibers elicit regeneration, establishing that topographical cues can influence endogenous nerve repair mechanisms in the absence of exogenous growth promoting proteins. Axons regenerated across a 17 mm nerve gap, reinnervated muscles, and reformed neuromuscular junctions. Electrophysiological and behavioral analyses revealed that aligned but not randomly oriented constructs facilitated both sensory and motor nerve regeneration, significantly improved functional outcomes. Additionally, a quantitative comparison of DRG outgrowth in vitro and nerve regeneration in vivo on aligned and randomly oriented fiber films clearly demonstrated the significant role of sub-micron scale topographical cues in stimulating endogenous nerve repair mechanisms.
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities, Georgia Tech's more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.