Hydrogels for acute spinal cord injury : physical/chemical material characterization and assessment of astrocytic response

McKay, Christopher Allen
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Gilbert, Ryan
Thompson, Deanna M.
Dai, Guohao
Karande, Pankaj
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Biomedical engineering
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Thus, there is a significant need for an efficacious SCI treatment capable of promoting regeneration of lost neuronal connections and restoration of functional motor behavior. A number of biomaterial-based, tissue engineering approaches have been developed for different time periods (acute vs. chronic) and types of SCI (contusion vs. transection) including implantable polymer scaffolds with guidance tubes to direct cellular growth and injectable hydrogel materials that act a matrix for cellular growth and a vehicle for drug or cell delivery. Contusive injuries with irregular lesion geometries are the most common type of SCI, making injectable hydrogels an ideal biomaterials treatment for contusive SCI. Due to the formation of a dense, astrocytic glial scar surrounding the lesion site, treatment of chronic SCI is difficult and complete removal of the glial scar often promotes further harm. Furthermore, regenerating neurons tend to follow astrocyte processes into biomaterial scaffolds within the lesion site, possibly acting as a guide for neuronal growth. Promoting positive astrocyte interaction is crucial for any biomaterial treatment of SCI. Even if a material promotes significantly neuronal growth, significant formation of reactive astrocyte or glial scar formation would remove any potential benefit.
May 2014
School of Engineering
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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