Local Release of Paclitaxel from Aligned, Electrospun Microfibers Promotes Axonal Extension

Jose A. Roman, Ian Reucroft, Russell A. Martin, Andres Hurtado, Hai Quan Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Traumatic spinal cord injuries ultimately result in an inhibitory environment that prevents axonal regeneration from occurring. A low concentration administration of paclitaxel has been previously shown to promote axonal extension and attenuate the upregulation of inhibitory molecules after a spinal cord injury. In this study, paclitaxel is incorporated into electrospun poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) microfibers, and it is established that a local release of paclitaxel from aligned, electrospun microfibers promotes neurite extension in a growth-conducive and inhibitory environment. Isolated dorsal root ganglion cells are cultured for 5 d directly on tissue culture polystyrene surface, PLA film, random, or aligned electrospun PLA microfibers (1.44 ± 0.03 μm) with paclitaxel incorporated at various concentrations (0%–5.0% w/w in reference to fiber weight). To determine the effect of a local release of paclitaxel, paclitaxel-loaded microfibers are placed in CellCrown inserts above cultured neurons. Average neurite extension rate is quantified for each sample. A local release of paclitaxel maintains neuronal survival and neurite extension in a concentration-dependent manner when coupled with aligned microfibers when cultured on laminin or an inhibitory surface of aggrecan. The findings provide a targeted approach to improve axonal extension across the inhibitory environment present after a traumatic injury in the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2628-2635
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 26 2016


  • aligned microfibers
  • axonal extension
  • electrospinning
  • paclitaxel
  • poly(lactic acid)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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