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Walaa Abbas1 Nageh Allam1

1, American University in Cairo, Cairo, , Egypt

Neural regeneration treatment after spinal cord injury (SCI) is still unsatisfactory despite the advances made in the field. One of the main challenges in neural tissue engineering is axonal growth and directionality. Cell and molecular therapies can enhance the axonal attachment and growth, however, axons may be unsuccessful to maintain their native organization and may grow in a disorganized fashion. Nanofiber scaffolds represent a potential solution for the problem of neural regeneration and axon guidance, as they can mimic the neural tissue extra cellular matrix (ECM) and combine the advantages of the combinatorial therapy for nerve injury in SCI cases. In this work, we aimed to fabricate a nanostructured scaffold that can be used as a physical support for maintaining axonal growth and regeneration in the lesion site. In addition to providing a suitable environment for the axonal extension to reconnect with their target neural tissues and restore their functional recovery. Anodized TiO2 nanotube powder incorporated into Chitosan and Poly Vinyl Alcohol (PVA) nanofibers with different percentages as 0.5, 1 and 3%. The composite scaffold was fabricated using rapid break down anodization and electrospinning techniques for TiO2 nanotubes and polymeric composite respectively. Characterization techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in addition to the viability assessment test using MTT assay with neural cell line were conducted. The results revealed that the scaffold with 0.5 and 1 % showed high biocompatibility material with neural cells which mimic the properties of the neural tissues in terms of biological and architectural properties and can be considered a regenerative treatment for axonal neural guidance of SCI.

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