Highly Permeable DNA Supramolecular Hydrogel Promotes Neurogenesis and Functional Recovery after Completely Transected Spinal Cord Injury

Taoyang Yuan, Yu Shao, Xu Zhou, Qian Liu, Zhichao Zhu, Bini Zhou, Yuanchen Dong, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Songbai Gui, Hao Yan, Dongsheng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Regeneration after severe spinal cord injury cannot occur naturally in mammals. Transplanting stem cells to the injury site is a highly promising method, but it faces many challenges because it relies heavily on the microenvironment provided by both the lesion site and delivery material. Although mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and biodegradability of delivery materials have been extensively explored, their permeability has rarely been recognized. Here, a DNA hydrogel is designed with extremely high permeability to repair a 2 mm spinal cord gap in Sprague–Dawley rats. The rats recover basic hindlimb function with detectable motor-evoked potentials, and a renascent neural network is formed via the proliferation and differentiation of both implanted and endogenous stem cells. The signal at the lesion area is conveyed by, on average, 15 newly formed synapses. This hydrogel system offers great potential in clinical trials. Further, it should be easily adaptable to other tissue regeneration applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2102428
JournalAdvanced Materials
Volume33
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2021

Keywords

  • DNA
  • hydrogel
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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