A ‘Relay’-Type Drug-Eluting Nerve Guide Conduit: Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of the Drug Eluting Efficiency of Various Drug Release Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) are tubular scaffolds that act as a bridge between the proximal and distal ends of the native nerve to facilitate the nerve regeneration. The application of NGCs is mostly limited to nerve defects less than 3 mm due to the lack of sufficient cells in the lumen. The development of drug-release-system-embedded NGCs has the potential to improve the nerve regeneration performance by providing long-term release of growth factors. However, most of the past works only focused on one type of drug release system, limiting the variation in drug release system types and features. Therefore, in this study, computer-aided design (CAD) models were constructed and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were carried out to investigate the effect of growth factor transporting efficiency on different drug release systems. To over-come the challenges posed by the current NGCs in treating long nerve gap injuries (>4 cm), a novel ‘relay’ NGC design is first proposed in this paper and has the potential to improve the nerve regeneration performance to next level. The intermediate cavities introduced along the length of the multi-channel NGCs act as a relay to further enhance the cell concentrations or growth factor delivery as well as the regeneration performance. Four different drug release systems, namely, a single-layer microsphere system, a double-layer microsphere system, bulk hydrogel, and hydrogel film, were chosen for the simulation. The results show that the double-layer microsphere system achieves the highest growth factor volume fraction among all the drug release systems. For the single-layer microsphere system, growth factor concentration can be significantly improved by increasing the microsphere quantities and decreasing the diameter and adjacent distance of microspheres. Bulk hydrogel systems hold the lowest growth factor release performance, and the growth factor concentration monotonically increased with the increase of film thickness in the hydrogel film system. Owing to the easy fabrication of hydrogel film and the even distribution of growth factors, the hy-drogel film system can be regarded as a strong candidate in drug-eluting NGCs. The use of computational simulations can be regarded as a guideline for the design and application of drug release systems, as well as a promising tool for further nerve tissue engineering study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230
JournalPharmaceutics
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Drug-eluting scaffolds
  • Nerve
  • nerve guide conduit
  • NGC
  • Peripheral nerve injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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