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Optic Nerve
Optic Nerve
Spinal Cord Merged
Spinal Cord Merged
CNS Tissue Engineering

"Biologic scaffold materials composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) have been used in preclinical animal studies and human clinical applications to facilitate constructive remodeling of a variety of tissues including skeletal muscle, skin, esophagus, skeletal muscle and heart tissue. The site-specific remodeling process includes rapid degradation of the scaffold with concomitant recruitment of mononuclear cells, endothelial cells, and bone marrow derived cells, and can lead to formation of functional skeletal and smooth muscle tissue. Recent studies have shown that neural tissue plays an important role in site-specific remodeling. By understanding the mechanisms and patterns of innervation following ECM mediated remodeling, it may be possible to promote functional innervation and neurite extension to slow or reverse neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

Current research efforts in the Badylak laboratory regarding central nervous system tissue engineering involve:

  1. The growth of a variety of central nervous system cell types upon biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) in vitro,
  2. The preparation of central nervous system derived extracellular matrix (decellularization of CNS), and
  3. The application of various forms of extracellular matrix to areas of CNS injury and preclinical animal models.

The objective of our present and future work is to develop an effective substrate for reconstruction of functional central nervous system tissue.  We believe that the extracellular matrix provides such a substrate and can “jumpstart” regeneration of central nervous system tissue either by recruitment of endogenous stem cells to the site of injury or by placement of such stem cells within a scaffold that is placed at the injury site.


Updated 16-May-2011