Abstract

AbstractSensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is caused by the loss of sensory hair cells (HCs) and/or connected spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). The current clinical conventional treatment for SNHL is cochlear implantation (CI). The principle of CI is to bypass degenerated auditory HCs and directly electrically stimulate SGNs to restore hearing. However, the effectiveness of CI is limited when SGNs are severely damaged. In the present study, oriented nanofiber scaffolds were fabricated using electrospinning technology to mimic the SGN spatial microenvironment in the inner ear. Meanwhile, different proportions of polyaniline (PANI), poly‐l‐lactide (PLLA), gelatin (Gel) were composited to mimic the composition and mechanical properties of auditory basement membrane. The effects of oriented PANI/PLLA/Gel biomimetic nanofiber scaffolds for neurite outgrowth were analyzed. The results showed the SGNs grew in an orientation along the fiber direction, and the length of the protrusions increased significantly on PANI/PLLA/Gel scaffold groups. The 2% PANI/PLLA/Gel group showed best effects for promoting SGN adhesion and nerve fiber extension. In conclusion, the biomimetic oriented nanofiber scaffolds can simulate the microenvironment of SGNs as well as promote neurite outgrowth in vitro, which may provide a feasible research idea for SGN regeneration and even therapeutic treatments of SNHL in future.

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