eISSN: 1509-572x
ISSN: 1641-4640
Folia Neuropathologica
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vol. 52

Original article
Non-woven nanofiber mats – a new perspective for experimental studies of the central nervous system?

Janina Rafalowska
Dorota Sulejczak
Stanisław J. Chrapusta
Roman Gadamski
Anna Taraszewska
Paweł Nakielski
Tomasz Kowalczyk
Dorota Dziewulska

Folia Neuropathol 2014; 52 (4): 407-416
Online publish date: 2014/12/30
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(Sub)chronic local drug application is clearly superior to systemic administration, but may be associated with substantial obstacles, particularly regarding the applications to highly sensitive central nervous system (CNS) structures that are shielded from the outer environment by the blood-brain barrier. Violation of the integrity of the barrier and CNS tissues by a permanently implanted probe or cannula meant for prolonged administration of drugs into specific CNS structures can be a severe confounding factor because of the resulting inflammatory reactions. In this study, we tested the utility of a novel way for (sub)chronic local delivery of highly active (i.e., used in very low amounts) drugs to the rat spinal cord employing a non-woven nanofiber mat dressing. To this end, we compared the morphology and motoneuron ( + ) counts in spinal cord cervical and lumbar segments between rats with glutamate-loaded nanofiber mats applied to the lumbar enlargement and rats with analogical implants carrying no glutamate. Half of the rats with glutamate-loaded implants were given daily valproate treatment to test its potential for counteracting the detrimental effects of glutamate excess. The mats were prepared in-house by electrospinning of an emulsion made of a solution of the biocompatible and biodegradable poly(L-lactide-co-caprolactone) polymer in a mixture of organic solvents, an aqueous phase with or without monosodium glutamate, and sodium dodecyl sulfate as an emulsifier; the final glutamate content was 1.4 µg/mg of the mat. Three weeks after mat implantation there was no inflammation or considerable damage of the spinal cord motoneuron population in the rats with the subarachnoid dressing of a glutamate-free mat, whereas the spinal cords of the rats with glutamate-loaded nanofiber mats showed clear symptoms of excitotoxic damage and a substantial increase in dying/damaged motoneuron numbers in both segments studied. The rats given systemic valproate treatment showed significantly lower percentages of damaged/dying motoneurons in their lumbar enlargements. These results demonstrate the capacity of nanofiber mats for generation of neurotoxic glutamate in the rat CNS. However, the tested nanofiber mats need further improvements aimed at extending the period of effective drug release and rendering the release more steady.

CNS injury, electrospinning, excitotoxicity, glutamate, motoneuron, nanofibers, neurodegeneration, spinal cord, valproate

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