Dextran-based tube-guides for the regeneration of the rat sciatic nerve after neurotmesis injury

Ana Catarina Pinho, Mariana Vieira Branquinho, Rui Damásio Alvites, Ana Clotilde Fonseca*, Ana Rita Caseiro, Sílvia Santos Pedrosa, Ana Lúcia Luís, Isabel Pires, Justina Prada, Luísa Muratori, Giulia Ronchi, Stefano Geuna, José Domingos Santos, Ana Colette Maurício, Arménio Coimbra Serra, Jorge Fernando Jordão Coelho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, dextran-based nerve tube-guides were prepared, characterized and used in a standardized animal model of neurotmesis injury. Non-porous and porous transparent tube-guides were obtained by photocrosslinking of two co-macromonomers based on dextran and poly(ϵ-caprolactone) (PCL). Swelling capacity of the tube-guides ranged from 40-60% with no visible constriction of their inner diameter. In vitro hydrolytic degradation tests showed that the tube-guides maintained their structural integrity up to 6 months. The in vivo performance of the tube-guides was evaluated by entubulation of the rat sciatic nerve after a neurotmesis injury, with a 10 mm-gap between the nerve stumps. The results showed that the tube-guides were able to promote the regeneration of the nerve in a similar manner to what was observed with conventional techniques (nerve graft and end-to-end suture). Stereological analysis proved that nerve regeneration occurred, and both tube-guides presented fibre diameter and g-ratio closer to healthy sciatic nerves. The histomorphometric analysis of Tibialis anterior (TA) skeletal muscle showed decreased neurogenic atrophy in the porous tube-guides treated group, presenting measurements that are similar to the uninjured control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-811
Number of pages14
JournalBiomaterials Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


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