Dynamic culture of a thermosensitive collagen hydrogel as an extracellular matrix improves the construction of tissue-engineered peripheral nerve

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Tissue engineering technologies offer new treatment strategies for the repair of peripheral nerve injury, but cell loss between seeding and adhesion to the scaffold remains inevitable. A thermosensitive collagen hydrogel was used as an extracellular matrix in this study and combined with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to construct tissue-engineered peripheral nerve composites in vitro. Dynamic culture was performed at an oscillating frequency of 0.5 Hz and 35° swing angle above and below the horizontal plane. The results demonstrated that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells formed membrane-like structures around the poly-L-lactic acid scaffolds and exhibited regular alignment on the composite surface. Collagen was used to fill in the pores, and seeded cells adhered onto the poly-L-lactic acid fibers. The DNA content of the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells was higher in the composites constructed with a thermosensitive collagen hydrogel compared with that in collagen I scaffold controls. The cellular DNA content was also higher in the thermosensitive collagen hydrogel composites constructed with the thermosensitive collagen hydrogel in dynamic culture than that in static culture. These results indicate that tissue-engineered composites formed with thermosensitive collagen hydrogel in dynamic culture can maintain larger numbers of seeded cells by avoiding cell loss during the initial adhesion stage. Moreover, seeded cells were distributed throughout the material.

Funding:This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 31071222; Jilin Province Science and Technology Development Project in China, No. 20080738; and the Frontier Interdiscipline Program of Norman Bethune Health Science Center of Jilin University in China, No. 2013106023.

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