Application of bioactive hydrogels combined with dental pulp stem cells for the repair of large gap peripheral nerve injuries

Lihua Luo, Yan He, Ling Jin, Yanni Zhang, Fernando P. Guastaldi, Abdullkhaleg A. Albashari, Fengting Hu, Xiaoyan Wang, Lei Wang, Jian Xiao, Lingli Li, Jianming Wang, Akon Higuchi, Qingsong Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Due to the limitations in autogenous nerve grafting or Schwann cell transplantation, large gap peripheral nerve injuries require a bridging strategy supported by nerve conduit. Cell based therapies provide a novel treatment for peripheral nerve injuries. In this study, we first experimented an optimal scaffold material synthesis protocol, from where we selected the 10% GFD formula (10% GelMA hydrogel, recombinant human basic fibroblast growth factor and dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs)) to fill a cellulose/soy protein isolate composite membrane (CSM) tube to construct a third generation of nerve regeneration conduit, CSM-GFD. Then this CSM-GFD conduit was applied to repair a 15-mm long defect of sciatic nerve in a rat model. After 12 week post implant surgery, at histologic level, we found CSM-GFD conduit could regenerate nerve tissue like neuron and Schwann like nerve cells and myelinated nerve fibers. At physical level, CSM-GFD achieved functional recovery assessed by a sciatic functional index study. In both levels, CSM-GFD performed like what gold standard, the nerve autograft, could do. Further, we unveiled that almost all newly formed nerve tissue at defect site was originated from the direct differentiation of exogeneous DPSCs in CSM-GFD. In conclusion, we claimed that this third-generation nerve regeneration conduit, CSM-GFD, could be a promising tissue engineering approach to replace the conventional nerve autograft to treat the large gap defect in peripheral nerve injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-654
Number of pages17
JournalBioactive Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Dental pulp stem cells
  • Gelatin methacrylate
  • Human basic fibroblast growth factor
  • Large gap
  • Nerve graft
  • Peripheral nerve injuries


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of bioactive hydrogels combined with dental pulp stem cells for the repair of large gap peripheral nerve injuries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this