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Publication Detail
3D Engineered Peripheral Nerve: Towards A New Era of Patient-Specific Nerve Repair Solutions.
Reconstruction of peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) with substance loss remains challenging because of limited treatment solutions and unsatisfactory patient outcomes. Currently, nerve autografting is the first-line management choice for bridging critical-sized nerve defects. The procedure, however, is often complicated by donor site morbidity and paucity of nerve tissue, raising a quest for better alternatives. The application of other treatment surrogates, such as nerve guides remains questionable, and inefficient in irreducible nerve gaps. More importantly, these strategies lack customization for personalized patient therapy, which is a significant drawback of these nerve repair options. This negatively impacts the fascicle-to-fascicle regeneration process, critical to restoring the physiological axonal pathway of the disrupted nerve. Recently, the use of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies has offered major advancements to the bioengineering solutions for PNI therapy. These techniques aim to reinstate the native nerve fascicle pathway using biomimetic approaches, thereby augmenting end-organ innervation. AM-based approaches, such as 3D bioprinting, are capable of biofabricating 3D engineered nerve graft scaffolds in a patient-specific manner with high precision. Moreover, realistic in vitro models of peripheral nerve tissues that represent the physiologically and functionally relevant environment of human organs could also be developed. However, the technology is still nascent and faces major translational hurdles. In this review, we spotlighted the clinical burden of PNIs and most up-to-date treatment to address nerve gaps. Next, a summarized illustration of the nerve ultrastructure that guides research solutions is discussed. This is followed by a contrast of the existing bioengineering strategies used to repair peripheral nerve discontinuities. In addition, we elaborated on the most recent advances in 3D printing (3DP) and biofabrication applications in peripheral nerve modeling and engineering. Finally, the major challenges that limit the evolution of the field along with their possible solutions are also critically analyzed.
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