Peripheral nerves are fragile and easily damaged, usually resulting in nervous tissue loss, motor and sensory function loss. Advances in neuroscience and engineering have been significantly contributing to bridge the damage nerve and create permissive environment for axonal regrowth across lesions. We have successfully designed two self-assembling peptides by modifying RADA 16-I with two functional motifs IKVAV and RGD. Nanofiber hydrogel formed when combing the two neutral solutions together, defined as RADA 16-Mix that overcomes the main drawback of RADA16-I associated with low pH. In the present study, we transplanted the RADA 16-Mix hydrogel into the transected rat sciatic nerve gap and effect on axonal regeneration was examined and compared with the traditional RADA16-I hydrogel. The regenerated nerves were found to grow along the walls of the large cavities formed in the graft of RADA16-I hydrogel, while the nerves grew into the RADA 16-Mix hydrogel toward distal position. RADA 16-Mix hydrogel induced more axons regeneration and Schwann cells immigration than RADA16-I hydrogel, resulting in better functional recovery as determined by the gait-stance duration percentage and the formation of new neuromuscular junction structures. Therefore, our results indicated that the functional SAP RADA16-Mix nanofibrous hydrogel provided a better environment for peripheral nerve regeneration than RADA16-I hydrogel and could be potentially used in peripheral nerve injury repair.
- Nanofibrous hydrogel
- Peripheral nerve regeneration
- Self-assembling peptide
ASJC Scopus subject areas