Anthony Windebank, MD and coauthors, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, evaluated the response of nerve tissue over time to an implanted biomaterial scaffold, with or without Schwann cells, at the site of a full transection spinal cord injury in rats. In the article “Positively Charged Oligo[Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Fumarate] Scaffold Implantation Results in a Permissive Lesion Environment after Spinal Cord Injury in Rat,” the authors report reduced scarring, cyst formation, and deposition of debris and protein complexes that can inhibit nerve regeneration. Seeding of Schwann cells in the scaffold channels did not have a significant effect on the lesion environment. Future research to discover therapeutic agents able to block the fibrotic response to these scaffolds could improve their ability to bridge spinal cord lesions. In their study of spinal cord transection injury in rats, Hakim et al. discovered that bare scaffold implantation–but not implantation of scaffold plus Schwann cells–temporarily enabled a ‘regeneration permissive’ environment, in which immediate scarring of the spinal cord was forestalled.
The full article can be accessed for free until August 9th, 2015 on the Tissue Engineering website and the link below.
This work was supported by grants from the NIH (EB02390, UL1TR000135), and the Morton, Kipnis, and Mayo Foundations (AJW).