Robust CNS regeneration after complete spinal cord transection using aligned poly-l-lactic acid microfibers

Andres Hurtado, Jared M. Cregg, Han B. Wang, Dane F. Wendell, Martin Oudega, Ryan J. Gilbert, John W. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


Following spinal cord injury, axons fail to regenerate without exogenous intervention. In this study we report that aligned microfiber-based grafts foster robust regeneration of vascularized CNS tissue. Film, random, and aligned microfiber-based conduits were grafted into a 3 mm thoracic rat spinal cord gap created by complete transection. Over the course of 4 weeks, microtopography presented by aligned or random poly- l-lactic acid microfibers facilitated infiltration of host tissue, and the initial 3 mm gap was closed by endogenous cell populations. This bulk tissue response was composed of regenerating axons accompanied by morphologically aligned astrocytes. Aligned fibers promoted long distance (2055 ± 150 μm), rostrocaudal axonal regeneration, significantly greater than random fiber (1162 ± 87 μm) and film (413 ± 199 μm) controls. Retrograde tracing indicated that regenerating axons originated from propriospinal neurons of the rostral spinal cord, and supraspinal neurons of the reticular formation, red nucleus, raphe and vestibular nuclei. Our findings outline a form of regeneration within the central nervous system that holds important implications for regeneration biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6068-6079
Number of pages12
Issue number26
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aligned microfibers
  • Axon guidance
  • Axonal regeneration
  • Electrospinning
  • Polylactic acid
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Robust CNS regeneration after complete spinal cord transection using aligned poly-l-lactic acid microfibers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this