Extracellular Matrix in Peripheral Nerve Regeneration
Peripheral nerve injury is a severe clinical problem with high morbidity. Attempts have been made to use tissue engineered nerve grafts to bridge peripheral nerve gaps as supplements or even substitutes for autologous nerve grafts. The extracellular matrix possesses an elaborate architecture and robustly affects cellular behaviors and biological activities. In this chapter, the applications of various components of the extracellular matrix, including collagen, laminin, and fibronectin, in neural tissue engineering are introduced. The recovery effects of the entire extracellular matrix and cell-derived decellularized extracellular matrix are also reviewed. Tissue engineered nerve grafts derived from the extracellular matrix achieve excellent clinical outcomes and may be used as a superior bio-scaffold for neural tissue engineering.