A novel poly-ε-lysine based implant, Proliferate®, for promotion of CNS repair following spinal cord injury†
The limited regenerative capacity of the CNS poses formidable challenges to the repair of spinal cord injury (SCI). Two key barriers to repair are (i) the physical gap left by the injury, and (ii) the inhibitory milieu surrounding the injury, the glial scar. Biomaterial implantation into the injury site can fill the cavity, provide a substrate for cell migration, and potentially attenuate the glial scar. We investigated the biological viability of a biocompatible and biodegradable poly-ε-lysine based biomaterial, Proliferate®, in low and high cross-linked forms and when coated with IKVAV peptide, for SCI implantation. We demonstrate altered astrocyte morphology and nestin expression on Proliferate® compared to conventional glass cell coverslips suggesting a less reactive phenotype. Moreover Proliferate® supported myelination in vitro, with myelination observed sooner on IKVAV-coated constructs compared with uncoated Proliferate®, and delayed overall compared with maintenance on glass coverslips. For in vivo implantation, parallel-aligned channels were fabricated into Proliferate® to provide cell guidance cues. Extensive vascularisation and cellular infiltration were observed in constructs implanted in vivo, along with an astrocyte border and microglial response. Axonal ingrowth was observed at the construct border and inside implants in intact channels. We conclude that Proliferate® is a promising biomaterial for implantation following SCI.