Pubblicazioni IGM

A novel technique for decellularization of allogenic nerves and in vivo study of their use for peripheral nerve reconstruction.


Boriani F, Fazio N, Fotia C, Savarino L, Nicoli Aldini N, Martini L, Zini N, Bernardini M, Baldini N.


Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A. 105(8) 2228-2240, 2017

Autori CNR




Autografts represent the gold standard for peripheral nerve reconstruction but their limited availability, the discrepancy of nerve caliber and long surgical times are drawbacks. Allografts have therefore become a valid alternative option. In particular, acellular nerve allografts (ANAs) rather than fresh allografts do not need immunosuppression and appear to be safe and effective based on recent studies. An innovative method was conceived to obtain ANAs, so as to speed up nerve decellularization, without compromising nerve architecture, and without breaking the asepsis chain. Several detergent-based techniques, integrated with sonication and mechanical stirring, were tested in vitro on rabbit nerves, to identify, by microscopy and immunohistochemistry, the most effective protocol in terms of cell lysis and cellular debris clearance, while maintaining nerve architecture. Furthermore, a pilot in vivo study was performed: ANAs were implanted into tibial nerve defects of three rabbits, and autografts, representing the gold standard, in other three animals. Twelve weeks postoperatively, rabbits were clinically evaluated and euthanasized; grafts were harvested and microscopically and histomorphometrically analyzed. The method proved to be effective in vitro: the treatment removed axons, myelin and cells, without altering nerve architecture. The in vivo study did not reveal any adverse effect: animals maintained normal weight and function of posterior limb during the entire experimental time. A mild fibrotic reaction was observed, macrophages and leukocytes were rare or absent; ANAs regenerated fascicles and bundles were comparable versus autografts. Based on these results, this decellularization protocol is encouraging and deserves deeper investigations with further pre-clinical and clinical studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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