The repair of peripheral nerve traumatic lesions still represents a major cause of permanent motor and sensory impairment. In case of substance loss, a nerve guide should be used to bridge the proximal with the distal stump of the severed nerve. The effectiveness of hollow nerve guides is limited by the delay of axonal growth due to the absence of a regeneration substrate inside the conduit. To fasten up nerve regeneration, nerve guides should thus be enriched by a luminal filler. In this study, we investigated, in a 12-mm rat sciatic nerve defect experimental model, the effectiveness of chitosan-based conduits of different acetylation filled either with a hyaluronic acid gel (NVR gel) or with a magnetic fibrin hydrogel, in comparison with traditional autografts. Results showed that all types of artificial nerve conduits led to functional recovery not significantly different from autografts. By contrast, morphological and morphometrical analyses showed that the best results among nerve guides were found in medium degree of acetylation (DAII: ∼5%) chitosan conduits enriched with the NVR gel.
Part of the book: Materials, Technologies and Clinical Applications