Fabrication of growth factor- and extracellular matrix-loaded, gelatin-based scaffolds and their biocompatibility with Schwann cells and dorsal root ganglia

Rodolfo E. Gámez Sazo, Katsumi Maenaka, Weiyong Gu, Patrick M. Wood, Mary Bartlett Bunge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


One of the most exciting new avenues of research to repair the injured spinal cord is to combine cells for implantation with scaffolds that protect the cells and release growth factors to improve their survival and promote host axonal regeneration. To realize this goal, we fabricated biodegradable, photocurable gelatin tubes and membranes for exploratory in vitro studies. Detailed methods are described for their fabrication with a high gelatin concentration. Gelatin membranes fabricated in the same way as tubes and photo-co-immobilized with rhBDNF or rhNT-3, with or without Schwann cells (SCs), showed an initial burst of neurotrophin release within 24 h, with release diminishing progressively for 21 days thereafter. SCs attained their typical bipolar conformation on membranes without neurotrophins but adhesion, alignment and proliferation were improved with neurotrophins, particularly rhBDNF. When dorsal root ganglion explants were cultured on membranes containing laminin and fibronectin plus both neurotrophins, neurite outgrowth was lengthier compared to combining one neurotrophin with laminin and fibronectin. Thus, these gelatin membranes allow SC survival and effectively release growth factors and harbor extracellular matrix components to improve cell survival and neurite growth. These scaffolds, based on the combination of cross-linked gelatin technology and incorporation of neurotrophins and extracellular matrix components, are promising candidates for spinal cord repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8529-8539
Number of pages11
Issue number33
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012



  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Drug sustained release
  • Gelatin
  • Photo-co-immobilization
  • Schwann cells
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics

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