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Repair and regeneration of the injured peripheral nerve (PN) is a challenging issue in clinics. Although the regeneration outcome of large PN defects is currently unsatisfactory, recently, the study of PN repair has considerably progressed. In particular, biomaterials for repairing PNs, such as nerve guidance conduits and nerve repair membranes, have been well developed. Herein, we summarize the anatomy of the PN, the pathophysiological features of the nerve injury, and the repair process post injury. Then, we highlight the progress in the development of natural and synthetic biomaterials and summarize the applications, advantages, and disadvantages of these materials. These materials can be used as nerve repair membranes and nerve conduits in the field of PN repair. Finally, we discuss the challenges encountered and development strategies for PN repair in the future.

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The progress of biomaterials in peripheral nerve repair and regeneration

Show Author's information Yimeng Wang1,§Yuan Zhang2,§Xuemin Li1,( )Qiqing Zhang1,3,( )
The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Material of Tianjin, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Tianjin 300192, China
Fujian Bote Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Fuzhou 350013, Fujian, China
Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen People’s Hospital (Second Clinical Medical College of Jinan University), Shenzhen 518020, Guangdong, China

§ These authors contributed equally to this work.


Repair and regeneration of the injured peripheral nerve (PN) is a challenging issue in clinics. Although the regeneration outcome of large PN defects is currently unsatisfactory, recently, the study of PN repair has considerably progressed. In particular, biomaterials for repairing PNs, such as nerve guidance conduits and nerve repair membranes, have been well developed. Herein, we summarize the anatomy of the PN, the pathophysiological features of the nerve injury, and the repair process post injury. Then, we highlight the progress in the development of natural and synthetic biomaterials and summarize the applications, advantages, and disadvantages of these materials. These materials can be used as nerve repair membranes and nerve conduits in the field of PN repair. Finally, we discuss the challenges encountered and development strategies for PN repair in the future.

Keywords: biomaterials, tissue engineering, peripheral nerve, nerve repair and regeneration, nerve conduits


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Publication history

Received: 10 September 2020
Revised: 30 November 2020
Accepted: 08 December 2020
Published: 07 February 2021
Issue date: December 2020


© The authors 2020


This study was financially sponsored in part by National Key Research and Development Program of China during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (No.2017YFC1103600, 2017YFC 104102)

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