• Alignment of multiple glial cell populations in 3D nanofiber scaffolds: toward the development of multicellular implantable scaffolds for repair of neural injury

      Weightman, Alan P.; Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Chari, Divya M.; Yang, Ying; Keele University, United Kingdom (Elsevier, 2014-02)
      Non-neuronal cells of the central nervous system (CNS), termed "neuroglia," play critical roles in neural regeneration; therefore, replacement of glial populations via implantable nanofabricated devices (providing a growth-permissive niche) is a promising strategy to enhance repair. Most constructs developed to date have lacked three-dimensionality, multiple glial populations and control over spatial orientations, limiting their ability to mimic in vivo neurocytoarchitecture. We describe a facile technique to incorporate multiple glial cell populations [astrocytes, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) and oligodendrocytes] within a three-dimensional (3D) nanofabricated construct. Highly aligned nanofibers could induce elongation of astrocytes, while OPC survival, elongation and maturation required pre-aligned astrocytes. The potential to scale-up the numbers of constituent nanofiber layers is demonstrated with astrocytes. Such complex implantable constructs with multiple glial sub-populations in defined 3D orientations could represent an effective approach to reconstruct glial circuitry in neural injury sites.