Investigation of nerve injury through microfluidic devices

J R Soc Interface. 2013 Nov 13;11(90):20130676. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0676. Print 2014 Jan 6.


Traumatic injuries, both in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS), can potentially lead to irreversible damage resulting in permanent loss of function. Investigating the complex dynamics involved in these processes may elucidate the biological mechanisms of both nerve degeneration and regeneration, and may potentially lead to the development of new therapies for recovery. A scientific overview on the biological foundations of nerve injury is presented. Differences between nerve regeneration in the central and PNS are discussed. Advances in microtechnology over the past several years have led to the development of invaluable tools that now facilitate investigation of neurobiology at the cellular scale. Microfluidic devices are explored as a means to study nerve injury at the necessary simplification of the cellular level, including those devices aimed at both chemical and physical injury, as well as those that recreate the post-injury environment.

Keywords: microfluidic chamber; nerve regeneration; peripheral nerve injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / pathology*
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / therapy
  • Research Design