Controlled delivery of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor enhances motor nerve regeneration

Amy M. Moore, Matthew D. Wood, Kristopher Chenard, Daniel A. Hunter, Susan E. MacKinnon, Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, Gregory H. Borschel

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40 Scopus citations


Purpose To determine the effect of a motor-specific neurotrophic factor, glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) on motor nerve regeneration. Methods We used a nerve conduit filled with a fibrin-based delivery system that provided controlled release of GDNF during nerve regeneration. The motor branch of the rat femoral nerve was used to assess motor nerve regeneration across a 5-mm gap. Four experimental groups (n=4 to n=8) were evaluated. These included GDNF with the fibrin-based delivery system (GDNF-DS), fibrin alone, empty conduit (negative control), and nerve isograft (positive control). Nerves were harvested at 5 weeks for analysis by histomorphometry and electron microscopy. Results At 5 mm distal to the conduit or isografts, the GDNF-DS group was not significantly different from the nerve isograft group in the following histomorphometric measures: total nerve fibers, percentage of neural tissue, and nerve density. Both the GDNF-DS and isograft groups had significantly more fibers and a higher percentage of neural tissue than fibrin alone and empty conduit groups. There were no differences in fiber width among all groups. By electron microscopy, the GDNF-DS and isograft groups also demonstrated more organized nerve architecture than the fibrin alone and empty conduit groups. Conclusions The delivery of GDNF from the fibrin-based delivery system promotes motor nerve regeneration at a level similar to an isograft in the femoral motor nerve model. This study gives insight into the potential beneficial role of GDNF in the treatment of motor nerve injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2017
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Biomaterial
  • Drug delivery
  • Fibrin
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Tissue engineering


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