Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit for repair of injured sciatic nerve: A mechanical analysis*

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Research Highlights

(1) After poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit transplantation and autogenous nerve grafting of in vitro models of sciatic nerve injury using human cadaver sciatic nerves, longitudinal tensile tests were conducted, and stress and strain data of sciatic nerves were obtained. This provided biomechanical basis for poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit transplantation in the repair of injured sciatic nerve.

Research Highlights

(2) Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduits (ratio of lactic acid to glycolic acid = 70:30) were fabricated using NaCl as a pore-foaming agent. The mass ratio of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) to NaCl was 1:9. After transplantation, the poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit exhibited a definite intensity, elasticity and plasticity and can be used for sciatic nerve injury transplantation.

Tensile stress and tensile strain directly affect the quality of nerve regeneration after bridging nerve defects by poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit transplantation and autogenous nerve grafting for sciatic nerve injury. This study collected the sciatic nerve from the gluteus maximus muscle from fresh human cadaver, and established 10-mm-long sciatic nerve injury models by removing the ischium, following which poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduits or autogenous nerve grafts were transplanted. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the axon and myelin sheath were torn, and the vessels of basilar membrane were obstructed in the poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit-repaired sciatic nerve following tensile testing. There were no significant differences in tensile tests with autogenous nerve graft-repaired sciatic nerve. Following poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit transplantation for sciatic nerve repair, tensile test results suggest that maximum tensile load, maximum stress, elastic limit load and elastic limit stress increased compared with autogenous nerve grafts, but elastic limit strain and maximum strain decreased. Moreover, the tendencies of stress-strain curves of sciatic nerves were similar after transplantation of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduits or autogenous nerve grafts. Results showed that after transplantation in vitro for sciatic nerve injury, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduits exhibited good intensity, elasticity and plasticity, indicating that poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduits are suitable for sciatic nerve injury repair.

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