Laminin polymer treatment accelerates repair of the crushed peripheral nerve in adult rats

Agnes E. Haggerty, Maria R. Bening, Gordon Pherribo, Edward A. Dauer, Martin Oudega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Promoting axon growth after peripheral nerve injury may support recovery. Soluble laminin polymers formed at pH 4 (aLam) accelerate axon growth from adult dorsal root ganglion neurons in vitro. We used an adult rat model of a peripheral (peroneal) nerve crush to investigate whether an injection of aLam enhances axon growth and functional recovery in vivo. Rats that received an injection of aLam into the crush at 2 days post-injury show significant improvements in hind limb motor function at 2 and 5 weeks after injury compared with control rats that received phosphate-buffered saline. Functional improvement was not associated with changes in sensitivity to thermal or mechanical stimuli. Treatment with aLam decreased the occurrence of autophagia and abolished non-compliance with treadmill walking. Rats treated with aLam showed increased axon presence in the crush site at 2 weeks post-injury and larger axon diameter at 10 weeks post-injury compared with controls. Treatment with aLam did not affect Schwann cell presence or axon myelination. Our results demonstrated that aLam accelerates axon growth and maturity in a crushed peroneal nerve associated with expedited hind limb motor function recovery. Our data support the therapeutic potential of injectable aLam polymers for treatment of peripheral nerve crush injuries. Statement of Significance: Incidence of peripheral nerve injury has been estimated to be as high as 5% of all cases entering a Level 1 trauma center and the majority of cases are young males. Peripheral nerves have some endogenous repair capabilities, but overall recovery of function remains limited, which typically has devastating effects on the individual, family, and society, as wages are lost and rehabilitation is extended until the nerves can repair. We report here that laminin polymers injected into a crush accelerated repair and recovery, had no adverse effects on sensory function, obliterated non-compliance for walking tests, and decreased the occurrence of autophagia. These data support the use of laminin polymers for safe and effective recovery after peripheral nerve injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Autophagia
  • Axon regeneration
  • Biomaterial
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Laminin
  • Nerve repair
  • Peroneal functional index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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