A Bioinspired Self‐Healing Conductive Hydrogel Promoting Peripheral Nerve RegenerationHongyun Xuan, Shuyuan Wu, Yan Jin, Shuo Wei, Feng Xiong, Ye Xue, Biyun Li, Yumin Yang, Huihua Yuan
- General Physics and Astronomy
- General Engineering
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- General Materials Science
- General Chemical Engineering
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
The development of self‐healing conductive hydrogels is critical in electroactive nerve tissue engineering. Typical conductive materials such as polypyrrole (PPy) are commonly used to fabricate artificial nerve conduits. Moreover, the field of tissue engineering has advanced toward the use of products such as hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels. Although HA‐modified PPy films are prepared for various biological applications, the cell–matrix interaction mechanisms remain poorly understood; furthermore, there are no reports on HA‐modified PPy‐injectable self‐healing hydrogels for peripheral nerve repair. Therefore, in this study, a self‐healing electroconductive hydrogel (HASPy) from HA, cystamine (Cys), and pyrrole‐1‐propionic acid (Py‐COOH), with injectability, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and nerve‐regenerative capacity is constructed. The hydrogel directly targets interleukin 17 receptor A (IL‐17RA) and promotes the expression of genes and proteins relevant to Schwann cell myelination mainly by activating the interleukin 17 (IL‐17) signaling pathway. The hydrogel is injected directly into the rat sciatic nerve‐crush injury sites to investigate its capacity for nerve regeneration in vivo and is found to promote functional recovery and remyelination. This study may help in understanding the mechanism of cell–matrix interactions and provide new insights into the potential use of HASPy hydrogel as an advanced scaffold for neural regeneration.