Neural tissue engineering: From bioactive scaffolds and in situ monitoring to regeneration

In this paper, we mainly introduce the recent progress on the construction of nerve conduit for the treatment of peripheral nerve injury, including the design of the conduits in combination with biological effectors and cellular components. In addition, we give perspectives on nerve imaging to allow for the in situ monitoring, and the application of intervention treatment means, such as electricity, magnetism, ultrasound, and light, to the well-designed conduit and the nerve for promoting the treatment efficacy.


Peripheral nerve injury is a large-scale problem that annually affects more than several millions of people all over the world. It remains a great challenge to effectively repair nerve defects. Tissue engineered nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) provide a promising platform for peripheral nerve repair through the integration of bioactive scaffolds, biological effectors, and cellular components. Herein, we firstly describe the pathogenesis of peripheral nerve injuries at different orders of severity to clarify their microenvironments and discuss the clinical treatment methods and challenges. Then, we discuss the recent progress on the design and construction of NGCs in combination with biological effectors and cellular components for nerve repair. Afterward, we give perspectives on imaging the nerve and/or the conduit to allow for the in situ monitoring of the nerve regeneration process. We also cover the applications of different postoperative intervention treatments, such as electric field, magnetic field, light, and ultrasound, to the well-designed conduit and/or the nerve for improving the repair efficacy. Finally, we explore the prospects of multifunctional platforms to promote the repair of peripheral nerve injury.

Author list:

Bowen Gong, Xindan Zhang, Ahmed Al Zahrani, Wenwen Gao, Guolin Ma, Liqun Zhang, Jiajia Xue*

How to cite:

B. Gong, X. Zhang, A. A. Zahrani, W. Gao, G. Ma, L. Zhang, J. Xue, Exploration 2022, 2, 20210035.