By: Vishal Jani, Ritesh Patel, Rohit Reddy & Lee Zhang
Advisers: Dr. K. Yan & Dr. C. Wagner
Peripheral nerve damage is a serious condition affecting millions of Americans. Most treatment options (e.g. synthetic cannabinoids), are palliative. Current research, however, has demonstrated that controlled release of neurotrophins such as nerve growth factor (NGF) enables neurite extension. Coaxially electrospun scaffolds have the potential to aid the recovery of these patients by mimicking the nano/micro fibrous structure of native ECM and enabling controlled release of NGF. Building on the hybrid scaffold fabrication prototype developed by last year’s team, our goal is to extend the capabilities of the system to form coaxially electrospun biphasic scaffolds. Specifically, the system will be capable of: (1) coaxial electrospinning of water-soluble polymers, (2) encapsulation and controlled-release of NGF with clear bioactivity, (3) automation of the scaffold formation process, and (4) controlling operating conditions (i.e. humidity). Polymers selected for the shell include collagen I and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO). NGF will be encapsulated by an alginate hydrogel in the core. A bicinchoninic acid assay will measure NGF concentration throughout the assembled scaffold to verify a release model derived from Fick’s second law. PC-12 neurite outgrowth due to NGF uptake will be assessed quantitatively and qualitatively. Ultimately, this project seeks to present viable neurons for impulse conduction studies.