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Traumatic events resulting in spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often leave people paralyzed or with partial loss of motor function. The physical disabilities arising from traumatic events prevent people from functioning at the same level as pre-injury. My work aims to identify a plausible method to overcome the inhibitory post-SCI environment and to regenerate nervous tissue in order to restore neural function and, subsequently, motor function. I identified components of a new, hypothetical nerve scaffold based on the immune response after SCIs and the efficacy of currently used scaffolds for nerve regeneration. Hyaluronic acid (HA) polymer scaffolds and collagen-based scaffolds are individually effective in counteracting the post-SCI inhibitory environment and inducing neurofilament growth. In addition, sustained release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the lesion site has shown to supplement, and even augment, the physical and functional recovery achieved through the HA and collagen-based scaffolds. Thus, I propose the testing of a crosslinked HA and collagen scaffold with sustained BDNF release through BDNF-bound collagen binding domain and BDNF embedded PLGA microspheres as a more viable and effective method for spinal nerve regeneration in order to restore neural and motor function.
Spinal Cord Injury, Tissue Engineering, Nerve Regeneration, Scaffold
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Engineering
Current Academic Year
Mary C. Boyes
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