Development of Novel 3-D Printed Scaffolds With Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Nerve Regeneration

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2017 Feb;64(2):408-418. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2016.2558493.


A traumatic injury of peripheral nerves is serious clinical problem that may lead to major loss of nerve function, affecting quality of patient's life. Currently, nerve autograft is widely used to reconstruct the nerve gap. However, such surgical procedure suffers from many disadvantages including donor site morbidity and limited availability. In order to address these issues, neural tissue engineering has focused on the development of synthetic nerve scaffolds to support bridging a larger gap and improving nerve generation. For this purpose, we fabricated a novel 3-D biomimetic scaffold, which has tunable porous structure and embedded core-shell nanoparticles with sustained neurogenic factor delivery system, using stereolithography based 3-D printing and coaxial electrospraying techniques. Our results showed that scaffolds with larger porosity significantly improve PC-12 neural cell adhesion compared to ones with smaller porosity. Furthermore, scaffolds embedded with bovine serum albumin containing nanoparticles showed an enhancement in cell proliferation relative to bared control scaffolds. More importantly, confocal microscopy images illustrated that the scaffold with nerve growth factor nanoparticles greatly increased the length of neurites and directed neurite extension of PC-12 cells along the fiber. In addition, the 3-D printed nanocomposite scaffolds also improved the average neurite length of primary cortical neurons. The results in this study demonstrate the potential of this 3-D printed scaffold in improving neural cell function and nerve growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Drug Carriers
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Drug Carriers