The Promotion of Neural Regeneration in A Rat Facial Nerve Crush Injury Model Using Collagen-Binding NT-3

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Traumatic facial nerve injury, an important cause of facial paralysis, has a number of adverse effects, including facial muscle dysfunction and facial asymmetry. It has been demonstrated in our previous work that native human NT-3 fused with a collagen-binding domain (CBD-NT-3) could bind to collagen, specifically to exert neurotrophic effects, promoting axonal regeneration. To evaluate the effect of CBD-NT-3 in inducing facial nerve regeneration and functional recovery, the differing effects of CBD-NT-3 and native neurotrophin-3 (NAT-NT-3) were observed using the results of facial nerve functional recovery, electrophysiological testing, and axonal and myelin changes in a rat model of facial nerve crush injury. The rats were injected in the epineurium in crushed fibers of the facial nerve with CBD-NT-3, NAT-NT-3, and PBS respectively. After 4 weeks, the CBD-NT-3 group demonstrated significantly more ordered growth of axons and nerve functional recovery than the NAT-NT-3 group. The results suggest that CBD-NT-3 considerably enhances facial nerve regeneration and functional recovery.

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