Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Comunications - Poster

Evaluation of the angiogenic response of keratin-enriched chitosan membranes for peripheral nerve regeneration


Peripheral nerve damage often involves incapacity of the patients related to the loss of mobility and sensitive function. Although efforts have been directed to the development of tissue engineering (TE) strategies for the replacement of autologous nerve transplantation, this remains the gold standard clinical approach [1]. Chitosan (CHT) is a recognized biomaterial for peripheral nerve regeneration (PNR), since it was demonstrated to have a distinct performance on Schwan cells’ proliferation and orientation, as well as, on neuronal cells’ differentiation [2]. By the other side, keratin have also gained attention for PNR approaches due to its neuroinductive properties [3]. In a previous work, a keratin-chitosan blend has been proposed for the development of membranes to bridge peripheral nerve defects. In this work, since vascularization is a critical factor for PNR, the angiogenic response of the keratin-enriched CHT membranes was explored by using the chick chorioallantoic membrane assay (CAM), a simple and broadly used model for angiogenesis research [4]. As controls, simple CHT membranes were used. The angiogenic response was semi-quantitatively expressed by the number of blood vessels converging to the implanted materials and histologically characterized through Hematoxylin & Eosin staining and lectin-based detection of chick endothelial cells, as previously described by Silva-Correia et al [5]. The results suggest that keratin have a positive effect on the angiogenic response of CHT membranes. A statistically higher number of convergent blood vessels towards CHT/keratin membranes was noticed, when compared to CHT membranes. In line with these results, histological characterization has shown a tendential migration of endothelial cells and microvessel formation on the proximity of CHT/keratin membranes. The CHT/keratin blending was demonstrated to be a promising strategy to improve the angiogenic performance of CHT-based nerve grafts, thus, having the potential to improve neurogenesis and nerve regeneration.

Angiogenesis, CAM assay, Chitosan, keratin, Peripheral Nerve Regeneration (PNR)
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
Year of Publication
Date Published
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