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Poor functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI) drives the development of novel strategies to manage this devastating condition. We recently showed promising immunomodulatory and pro-regenerative actions of bio-functionalized carbon microfibres (MFs) implanted in a rodent model of SCI. In order to maximize tissue repair while easing MF implantation, we produced a composite implant based on the embedding of several MFs within a fibrin hydrogel. We used intravital imaging of fluorescent reporter mice at the early stages and spinal sections of the same animals 3 months later to characterize the neuroinflammatory response to the implant and its impact on axonal regeneration. Whereas fibrin alone was inert in the first week, its enzymatic degradation drove the chronic activation of microglial cells and axonal degeneration within 3 months. However, the presence of MFs inside the fibrin hydrogel slowed down fibrin degradation and boosted the early recruitment of immune cells. Noteworthy, there was an enhanced contribution of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs), preceding a faster transition toward an anti-inflammatory environment with increased axonal regeneration over 3 months. The inclusion of MF here ensured the long-term biocompatibility of fibrin hydrogels, which would otherwise preclude successful spinal cord regeneration.

Original publication




Journal article





Publication Date





839 - 839