Bridging the gap in peripheral nerve repair with 3D printed and bioprinted conduits

Angela R. Dixon, Shailly H. Jariwala*, Zoe Bilis, Joseph R. Loverde, Paul F. Pasquina, Luis M. Alvarez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the past two decades, a number of fabrication methods, including 3D printing and bioprinting, have emerged as promising technologies to bioengineer nerve conduits that closely replicate features of the native peripheral nerve, with the aim of augmenting or supplanting autologous nerve grafts. 3D printing and bioprinting offer the added advantage of rapidly creating composite peripheral nerve matrices from micron-scaled units, using an assortment of synthetic, natural and biologic materials. In this review, we explore the evolution of automated 3D manufacturing technologies for the development of peripheral nerve conduits and discuss aspects of conduit design, based on microarchitecture, material selection, cell and protein inclusion, and mechanical properties, as they are adaptable to 3D printing. Additionally, we highlight advancements in the application of bio-imaging modalities toward the fabrication of patient-specific nerve conduits. Lastly, we outline regulatory as well as clinical challenges that must be surmounted for the translation of 3D printing and bioprinting technology to the clinic. As a whole, this review addresses topics that may situate 3D manufacturing at the forefront of fabrication technologies that are exploited for the generation of future revolutionary therapies like in situ printing of peripheral nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
JournalBiomaterials
Volume186
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Nerve conduit
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Peripheral nerve repair
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting
  • Three-dimensional (3D) printing

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