Peripheral neuropathy arising from physical trauma is estimated to afflict 20 million people in the United States alone. In one common surgical intervention, neural conduits are placed over the nerve stumps to bridge the gap and create a microenvironment conducive to regeneration. It has been proposed that a biocompatible material such as cellulose nanofiber may serve as a viable conduit material, providing a non-inflammatory and mechanically stable system. Preliminary studies have shown that cellulose nanofiber conduits successfully aid neural regeneration and further, that the dimensions of the conduit relative to the nerve gap have an impact on efficacy in murine models. It has been hypothesized that the reliance of regeneration upon the physical dimensions of the conduit may be related to modified modes of diffusion and/or distances of key cellular nutrients and waste metabolites to/from the injury site. The present work investigates the concentration profile of glucose within the conduit via finite element analysis as a function of the physical dimensions of the conduit. It was determined that the magnitude of glucose diffusion was greater through the conduit walls than through the luminal space between the nerve and the inner wall of the conduit, and that as such radial diffusion is dominant over axial diffusion.
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This research was funded by a National Science Foundation award “Explore It! Building the Next Generation of Sustainable Forest Bioproduct Researchers”, NSF REU Award 1757529 in conjunction with the University of Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, National Institute of Health T32 award “Transdisciplinary predoctoral training in biomedical science and engineering” Award #5T32GM132006-02.
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Carter, N., Towne, J. & Neivandt, D.J. Finite element analysis of glucose diffusivity in cellulose nanofibril peripheral nerve conduits. Cellulose (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-021-03724-x
- Cellulose nanofiber
- Neural conduits
- Glucose diffusion
- Finite element analysis