GelMA/MeTro Composites for Peripheral Nerve Repair
Abstract Source: USPTO
Neurosupportive materials that possess strong tissue adhesion were synthesized by photocrosslinking two polymers, gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) and methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin (MeTro). The engineered materials exhibited tunable mechanical properties by varying the GelMA/MeTro ratio. In addition, GelMA/MeTro hydrogels exhibited 15-fold higher adhesive strength to nerve tissue ex vivo compared to traditionally used fibrin-based materials. Furthermore, the composites were shown to support Schwann cell (SC) viability and proliferation, as well as neurite extension and glial cell participation in vitro, which are essential cellular components for nerve regeneration. Finally, subcutaneously implanted GelMA/MeTro hydrogels exhibited slower degradation in vivo compared with pure GelMA, indicating its potential to support the growth of slowly regenerating nerves. Thus, GelMA/MeTro composites may be used as clinically relevant biomaterials to regenerate nerves and reduce the need for microsurgical suturing during nerve reconstruction.