The Role of Self-Assembled Monodomain Gels In Place Of Possible Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury
After spinal cord injury, one of the primary hurdles for recovery is the physical blockade by the glial scar to axon regeneration. Building a “bridge” to guide regenerated axons growing across the scar region is one of the major goals for material scientists working on therapies for spinal cord injury. Our collaborators in the Stupp laboratory have recently developed a novel nanomaterial which has an aligned (monodomain) internal fiber structure. In the present study, we provide evidence that this aligned scaffold material is able to promote aligned neurite growth in vitro. In addition, we show that we are able to implant this fragile material in vivo into the rodent spinal cord, while at the same time maintaining its internal aligned structure. We further show that co-implanted neural stem cells are able to extend neurites in an aligned orientation in the monodomain scaffold in vivo. This suggests that this scaffold may be of potential benefit for the treatment of spinal cord injury.
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