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The fabrication and characterization of linearly oriented nerve guidance scaffolds for spinal cord injury


Strategies to promote axonal extension through a site of injury, including the provision of nervous system growth factors and supportive substrates, produce growth of axons, that is highly random and does not extend past the lesion site and into the host tissue (Brain Res. Bull 57(6) (2002) 833). Physically guiding the linear growth of axons across a site of injury, in addition to providing neurotrophic and/or cellular support, would help to retain the native organization of regenerating axons across the lesion site and into distal host tissue, and would potentially increase the probability of achieving functional recovery. In the present study, a novel procedure was developed for using freeze-dry processing to create nerve guidance scaffolds made from agarose, with uniaxial linear pores. The hydrated scaffolds were soft and flexible, contained linear guidance pores extending through their full length, were stable under physiological conditions without chemical crosslinking, and could be readily loaded with diffusible growth stimulating proteins. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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