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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 835269, 16 pages
Research Article

Outer Electrospun Polycaprolactone Shell Induces Massive Foreign Body Reaction and Impairs Axonal Regeneration through 3D Multichannel Chitosan Nerve Guides

1Hannover Medical School, Institute for Neuroanatomy, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany
2Institute for Multiphase Processes, Leibniz University Hannover, Callinstraße 36, 30167 Hannover, Germany
3Institute for Biophysics, Leibniz University Hannover, Herrenhäuser Straße 2, 30419 Hannover, Germany
4Center for Systems Neuroscience (ZSN) Hannover, Hannover, Germany

Received 9 December 2013; Revised 22 January 2014; Accepted 10 February 2014; Published 9 April 2014

Academic Editor: Aijun Wang

Copyright © 2014 Sven Duda 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.


We report on the performance of composite nerve grafts with an inner 3D multichannel porous chitosan core and an outer electrospun polycaprolactone shell. The inner chitosan core provided multiple guidance channels for regrowing axons. To analyze the in vivo properties of the bare chitosan cores, we separately implanted them into an epineural sheath. The effects of both graft types on structural and functional regeneration across a 10 mm rat sciatic nerve gap were compared to autologous nerve transplantation (ANT). The mechanical biomaterial properties and the immunological impact of the grafts were assessed with histological techniques before and after transplantation in vivo. Furthermore during a 13-week examination period functional tests and electrophysiological recordings were performed and supplemented by nerve morphometry. The sheathing of the chitosan core with a polycaprolactone shell induced massive foreign body reaction and impairment of nerve regeneration. Although the isolated novel chitosan core did allow regeneration of axons in a similar size distribution as the ANT, the ANT was superior in terms of functional regeneration. We conclude that an outer polycaprolactone shell should not be used for the purpose of bioartificial nerve grafting, while 3D multichannel porous chitosan cores could be candidate scaffolds for structured nerve grafts.