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PHBV/PLA/Col-Based Nanofibrous Scaffolds Promote Recovery of Locomotor Function by Decreasing Reactive Astrogliosis in a Hemisection Spinal Cord Injury Rat Model

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Objectives: Biomaterials are used to aid in the regeneration of damaged tissue and in promotion of axonal guidance following spinal cord injury (SCI). In the present study, electrospun composite poly(hydroxybutyrate-cohydroxyvalerate) (PHBV), poly(lactic acid) (PLA), and collagen (Col) nanofibrous scaffolds were applied to determine their roles in neural regeneration and recovery in a rat model of SCI. Methods: The morphological and chemical properties of the electrospun scaffolds were investigated. The growth and proliferation of astrocytes on the scaffolds were assessed by MTT assay. The differentiation and gene expression of astrocytes on the scaffolds were measured by immunofluorescence and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) assays. In a rat spinal cord hemisection model with 3-mm defects, 80 Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly divided into five groups: Sham group, SCI group, SCI+PHBV/PLA group, SCI+PHBV/PLA/Col (70:30) group, and SCI+PHBV/PLA/Col (50:50) group. The Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) scores were evaluated every week postsurgery, and (immuno) histological and protein analyses were performed on specimens at 8 weeks. Results: PHBV/PLA/Col scaffolds strongly inhibited the activation of astrocytes without decreasing their proliferation. qPCR assays revealed significant increases in the expression of brain lipid-binding protein (BLBP), glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100-β), but decreases in the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), chondroitin sulphate sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG), neurocan, and phosphacan in the PHBV/PLA/Col scaffold group. In a series of in vivo experiments, PHBV/PLA/Col scaffold-treated SCI groups showed significant reductions in the numbers of CD68- and GFAP-immunopositive astrocytes within the interface of the remodeled tissue layer, but increased expression of NF-200 in residual neurons with better locomotor functional recovery. However, there were no significant differences between the PHBV/PLA/Col (70:30) and PHBV/PLA/Col (50:50) groups, except in BBB scores. Conclusions: PHBV/PLA/Col nanofibrous scaffolds were biocompatible and significantly promoted astrocyte differentiation but decreased astrocyte activation. The topographic structures of the PHBV/PLA/Col (70:30 and 50:50) nanofibers were favorable for neural regeneration due to a decrease in astrogliosis in SCI rats.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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