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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 132350, 19 pages
Review Article

A Review of Bioactive Release from Nerve Conduits as a Neurotherapeutic Strategy for Neuronal Growth in Peripheral Nerve Injury

Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform Research Unit, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa

Received 21 February 2014; Accepted 4 May 2014; Published 21 July 2014

Academic Editor: Mario I. Romero-Ortega

Copyright © 2014 Poornima Ramburrun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peripheral nerve regeneration strategies employ the use of polymeric engineered nerve conduits encompassed with components of a delivery system. This allows for the controlled and sustained release of neurotrophic growth factors for the enhancement of the innate regenerative capacity of the injured nerves. This review article focuses on the delivery of neurotrophic factors (NTFs) and the importance of the parameters that control release kinetics in the delivery of optimal quantities of NTFs for improved therapeutic effect and prevention of dose dumping. Studies utilizing various controlled-release strategies, in attempt to obtain ideal release kinetics, have been reviewed in this paper. Release strategies discussed include affinity-based models, crosslinking techniques, and layer-by-layer technologies. Currently available synthetic hollow nerve conduits, an alternative to the nerve autografts, have proven to be successful in the bridging and regeneration of primarily the short transected nerve gaps in several patient cases. However, current research emphasizes on the development of more advanced nerve conduits able to simulate the effectiveness of the autograft which includes, in particular, the ability to deliver growth factors.