Engineering peripheral nerve repair
•Commercial nerve guidance conduits are insufficient to promote enhanced regeneration.•Multifaceted approaches are needed to mimic native nerve architecture and function.•Engineered constructs with topographical cues facilitate aligned axonal regeneration.•Delivery of native nerve biochemical and electrical cues improves functional outcomes.
Current approaches for treating peripheral nerve injury have resulted in promising, yet insufficient functional recovery compared to the clinical standard of care, autologous nerve grafts. In order to design a construct that can match the regenerative potential of the autograft, all facets of nerve tissue must be incorporated in a combinatorial therapy. Engineered biomaterial scaffolds in the future will have to promote enhanced regeneration and appropriate reinnervation by targeting the highly sensitive response of regenerating nerves to their surrounding microenvironment.
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Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 24, Issue 5, October 2013, Pages 887–892