미래를 창조하는 포스텍 화학공학과
Limited regenerative capacity of the nervous system makes treating traumatic nerve injuries with conventional polymer-based nerve grafting a challenging task. Consequently, utilizing natural polymers and biomimetic topologies became obvious strategies for nerve conduit designs. As a bioinspired natural polymer from a marine organism, mussel adhesive proteins (MAPs) fused with biofunctional peptides from extracellular matrix (ECM) were engineered for accelerated nerve regeneration by enhancing cell adhesion, proliferation, neural differentiation, and neurite formation. To physically promote contact guidance of neural and Schwann cells and to achieve guided nerve regeneration, MAP was fabricated into an electrospun aligned nanofiber conduit by introducing synthetic polymer poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) to control solubility and mechanical property. In vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrated that the multi-dimensional tactics of combining adhesiveness from MAP, integrin-mediated interaction from ECM peptides (in particular, IKVAV derived from laminin α1 chain), and contact guidance from aligned nanofibers synergistically accelerated functional nerve regeneration. Thus, MAP-based multi-dimensional approach provides new opportunities for neural regenerative applications including nerve grafting.