Micromachined polymeric scaffold with neuron factor gradient for guided spiral ganglion neuron growth
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Over 50 million people suffer from acquired hearing loss due to permanent damage to hair cells currently treatable by only cochlear implants. The damaged hair cell in turn causes the demise of spiral ganglion neuron, resulting in permanent deaf after even cochlear implants. Therefore, to activate and culture remaining spiral ganglion neurons is an urgent step in parallel with cochlear implants. This thesis explores the use of a micromachined solid-state implantable biodegradable microscaffold with gradient distribution of nerve growth factor Neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) encapsulations in poly (L-lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) for guided spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) culture. A cost-effective, high resolution, micro capillary fluidic molding (mCFM) and diffusion processes have been exploited. The technical approach includes the modeling of microfluidic system, the microfabrication of micromolds and gradient NT-3 embedded PLGA scaffold, and in vitro biological assays. This work can be extended to the neuron culture of central or peripheral neural system.