Regulation of Schwann Cell and DRG Neurite Behaviors within Decellularized Peripheral Nerve Matrix

Wen Xue, Yunfan Kong, Rafay Abu, Pooja Roy, Sung Ho Huh, Mitchell Kuss, Vikas Kumar, Bin Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Decellularized nerve hydrogels (dNHs) containing bioactive molecules are promising biomaterials for peripheral nerve injury (PNI) treatment and have been extensively applied in clinical and preclinical practice. However, most previous research projects studied their influences on nerve-related cellular behaviors in two dimensions (2D) without taking hydrogel biomechanics into consideration. The molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial microenvironment provided by dNHs also remain unclear. In this study, dNHs from rat sciatic nerves were prepared, and their effects on Schwann cell (SC) and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurite behaviors were evaluated and compared to commercial rat tail type I collagen (Col) hydrogels in three-dimensional (3D) environments. We found that dNHs could promote SC proliferation and neurite outgrowth, and both the hydrogel mechanics and components contributed to the dNH functionalization. Through proteomics analysis, we found that laminin (LAM) and type V collagen (COLV) exclusively and abundantly existed in dNHs. By adding exogenous LAM and COLV into Col hydrogels, we demonstrated that they regulated SC gene expression and that LAM could promote SC spreading and neurite outgrowth, while COLV improved SC proliferation. Lastly, dNHs were fabricated into paper-like, aligned nerve scaffolds through unidirectional freezing to expand the dNH applications in PNI treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8693-8704
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 23 2022


  • decellularized nerve hydrogels
  • laminin
  • peripheral nerve regeneration
  • proteomics
  • type V collagen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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