Multifunctional, multichannel bridges that deliver neurotrophin encoding lentivirus for regeneration following spinal cord injury

Hannah M. Tuinstra, Misael O. Aviles, Seungjin Shin, Samantha J. Holland, Marina L. Zelivyanskaya, Alan G. Fast, Sarah Y. Ko, Daniel J. Margul, Anne K. Bartels, Ryan M. Boehler, Brian J. Cummings, Aileen J. Anderson, Lonnie D. Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Therapeutic strategies following spinal cord injury must address the multiple barriers that limit regeneration. Multiple channel bridges have been developed that stabilize the injury following implantation and provide physical guidance for regenerating axons. These bridges have now been employed as a vehicle for localized delivery of lentivirus. Implantation of lentivirus loaded multiple channel bridges produced transgene expression that persisted for at least 4 weeks. Expression was maximal at the implant at the earliest time point, and decreased with increasing time of implantation, as well as rostral and caudal to the bridge. Immunohistochemical staining indicated transduction of macrophages, Schwann cells, fibroblasts, and astrocytes within the bridge and adjacent tissue. Subsequently, the delivery of lentivirus encoding the neurotrophic factors NT-3 or BDNF significantly increased the extent of axonal growth into the bridge relative to empty scaffolds. In addition to promoting axon growth, the induced expression of neurotrophic factors led to myelination of axons within the channels of the bridge, where the number of myelinated axons was significantly enhanced relative to control. Combining gene delivery with biomaterials to provide physical guidance and create a permissive environment can provide a platform to enhance axonal growth and promote regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1626
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Gene therapy
  • Lentivirus
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Multifunctional, multichannel bridges that deliver neurotrophin encoding lentivirus for regeneration following spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this