Neurotrophic Factor-Laden Acellular Chondroitin Sulfate Scaffolds Promote Chronic Functional Recovery After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Latchoumane CV, Betancur MI, Simchick GA, Sun MK, Forghani R, Lenear CE, Ahmed A, Mohankumar R, Balaji N, Mason HD, Holmes PV, Zhao Q, Bellamkonda RV, Karumbaiah L.
Preprint from
21 June 2020


Severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) survivors experience permanent functional disabilities due to significant volume loss and the brain’s poor capacity to regenerate. Chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans (CS-GAGs) are key regulators of growth factor signaling and neural stem cell homeostasis in the brain. However, the efficacy of engineered CS (eCS) matrices in mediating structural and functional recovery after sTBI has not been investigated. We report that neurotrophic factor functionalized acellular eCS matrices implanted into the rat M1 region acutely post-sTBI, significantly enhanced cellular repair and gross motor function recovery when compared to controls, 20 weeks post-sTBI. Animals subjected to M2 region injuries followed by eCS matrix implantations, demonstrated the significant recovery of ‘reach-to-grasp’ function. This was attributed to enhanced volumetric vascularization, activity-regulated cytoskeleton (Arc) protein expression, and perilesional sensorimotor connectivity. These findings indicate that eCS matrices implanted acutely post-sTBI can support complex cellular, vascular, and neuronal circuit repair, chronically after sTBI.