This paper describes the repair of peripheral nerves with a tubular conduit fabricated from collagen. The tubular collagen matrix was made semipermeable to permit nutrient exchange and accessibility of neurotrophic factors to the axonal growth zone during regeneration. In-vitro studies showed that the semipermeable collagen conduit allowed rapid diffusion of molecules the size of bovine serum albumin and was adequately cross-linked for controlled resorption in vivo. Studies on primates suggest that collagen conduits worked as effectively as nerve autografts in terms of physiological recovery of motor and sensory responses. The results of in-vitro and in-vivo studies of the collagen conduit represent a significant step towards our specific aim of developing suitable off-the-shelf prostheses for clinical repair of damaged peripheral nerves.

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