Methods for in vitro characterization of multichannel nerve tubes

Godard C. De Ruiter, Irene A. Onyeneho, Ellen T. Liang, Michael J. Moore, Andrew M. Knight, Martijn J.A. Malessy, Robert J. Spinner, Lichun Lu, Bradford L. Currier, Michael J. Yaszemski, Anthony J. Windebank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Multichannel conduits have been developed for experimental peripheral nerve and spinal cord repair. We present a series of methods to characterize multichannel nerve tubes for properties of bending, deformation, swelling, and degradation and introduce a new method to test the permeability of multichannel nerve tubes from the rate of diffusion of different-sized fluorescent dextran molecules (10, 40, and 70 kDa). First, single-lumen nerve tubes made with different poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) ratios (50:50, 75:25, and 85:15) were compared. One ratio (75:25 PLGA) was subsequently used to compare single-lumen and multichannel nerve tubes. Nerve tubes made with lower PLGA ratios were found to be more flexible than nerve tubes made with a higher PLGA ratio. For low ratios, however, swelling was also greater as a result of a faster rate of degradation. Multichannel structure did not interfere with the permeability of the tube; the rate of diffusion into multichannel 75:25 PLGA nerve tubes appeared to be even higher than that into single-lumen ones, but this was only significant for 70-kDa molecules. Also, multichannel 75:25 PLGA nerve tubes were more flexible and, at the same time, more resistant to deformation. However, swelling significantly decreased the total cross-sectional lumen area, especially in multichannel 75:25 PLGA nerve tubes. Permeability, bending, deformation, swelling, and degradation are important properties to characterize in the development of multichannel nerve tubes. The methods presented in this study can be used as a basis for optimizing these properties for future, possibly clinical, application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


  • Degradation
  • Flexibility
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Permeability
  • Swelling
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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