Research ArticleENGINEERING

A fully biodegradable and self-electrified device for neuroregenerative medicine

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Science Advances  11 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 50, eabc6686
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc6686

Abstract

Peripheral nerve regeneration remains one of the greatest challenges in regenerative medicine. Deprivation of sensory and/or motor functions often occurs with severe injuries even treated by the most advanced microsurgical intervention. Although electrical stimulation represents an essential nonpharmacological therapy that proved to be beneficial for nerve regeneration, the postoperative delivery at surgical sites remains daunting. Here, a fully biodegradable, self-electrified, and miniaturized device composed of dissolvable galvanic cells on a biodegradable scaffold is achieved, which can offer both structural guidance and electrical cues for peripheral nerve regeneration. The electroactive device can provide sustained electrical stimuli beyond intraoperative window, which can promote calcium activity, repopulation of Schwann cells, and neurotrophic factors. Successful motor functional recovery is accomplished with the electroactive device in behaving rodent models. The presented materials options and device schemes provide important insights into self-powered electronic medicine that can be critical for various types of tissue regeneration and functional restoration.

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