Open Access

Aligned nanofiber nerve conduits inhibit alpha smooth muscle actin expression and collagen proliferation by suppressing TGF‑β1/SMAD signaling in traumatic neuromas

  • Authors:
    • Chenglun Yao
    • Xijie Zhou
    • Weidong Weng
    • Keshav Poonit
    • Chao Sun
    • Hede Yan
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: October 8, 2021
  • Article Number: 1414
  • Copyright: © Yao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Transforming growth factor‑beta 1 (TGF‑β1) is a powerful activator of connective tissue synthesis that is strongly associated with the pathophysiology of traumatic neuroma. Previous studies have demonstrated that aligned nanofiber conduits made from silk fibroin and poly (L‑lactic acid‑co‑ε‑caprolactone; PLCL) could prevent traumatic neuromas. In the present study, the possible mechanisms of conduits in treating traumatic neuromas were investigated to provide theoretical basis for procedures. Aligned nanofiber conduits were used for nerve capping. Sciatic nerves of Sprague‑Dawley rats were used to create an animal model. The present study contains two parts, each including four experimental groups. SB‑431542/SRI‑011381 hydrochloride was used to suppress/enhance TGF‑β1/SMAD signaling. Part I discussed the connections between traumatic neuroma and the proliferation of alpha smooth muscle actin (α‑SMA) and collagen; it also investigated the therapeutic effect of conduits. Part II hypothesized that conduits suppressed TGF‑β1/SMAD signaling. Histological characteristics, quantitative analysis of α‑SMA, collagens and signaling‑related parameters were assessed and compared among groups one month postoperatively. Results from Part I demonstrated that aligned nanofiber conduits suppressed the expression of α‑SMA and collagens; and results from Part II revealed the downregulation of pathway‑related proteins, suggesting that the suppression was mediated by TGF‑β1/SMAD signaling. Aligned nanofiber conduits may be effective nerve capping biomaterials. One of the mechanisms involves suppressing TGF‑β1/SMAD signaling. Novel treatments using aligned nanofiber conduits could be developed to manage traumatic neuromas.
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