Functional recovery of injured cavernous nerves achieved through endogenous nerve growth factor-containing bioactive fibrous membrane

last updated: 2023-09-28
ProjectCells4_IDs :: publications list
TitleFunctional recovery of injured cavernous nerves achieved through endogenous nerve growth factor-containing bioactive fibrous membrane
Publication TypePapers in Scientific Journals
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsCasanova M. R., Mota P., Vala H., Nóbrega C., Morais A., Silva C. S., Barros, A. A., Reis R. L., Lima E., Martins A., and Neves N. M.

Radical prostatectomy is a highly successful treatment for prostate cancer, among the most prevalent manifestations of the illness. Damage of the cavernous nerve (CN) during prostatectomy is the main cause of postoperative erectile dysfunction (ED). In this study, the capability of a personalized bioactive fibrous membrane to regenerate injured CN was investigated. The fibrous membrane bioactivity is conferred by the selectively bound nerve growth factor (NGF) present in the rat urine. In a rat model of bilateral CN crush, the implanted bioactive fibrous membrane induces CN regeneration and restoration of erectile function, showing a significantly increased number of smooth muscle cells and content of endothelial and neuronal nitric oxide synthases (eNOS; nNOS). In addition, the bioactive fibrous membrane promotes nerve regeneration by increasing the number of myelinated axons and nNOS-positive cells, therefore reversing the CN fibrosis found in untreated rats or rats treated with a bare fibrous membrane. Therefore, this personalized regenerative strategy could overcome the recognized drawbacks of currently available treatments for CN injuries. It may constitute an effective treatment for prostate cancer patients suffering from ED after being subject to radical prostatectomy. Statement of significance: The present work introduces a unique strategy to address post-surgical ED resulting from CN injury during pelvic surgery (e.g., radical prostatectomy, radical cystoprostatectomy, abdominoperineal resection). It comprises a bioactive and cell-free fibrous implant, customized to enhance CN recovery. Pre-clinical results in a rat model of bilateral CN crush demonstrated that the bioactive fibrous implant can effectively heal injured CN, and restore penile structure and function. This implant selectively binds NGF from patient fluids (i.e. urine) due to its functionalized surface and high surface area. Moreover, its local implantation reduces adverse side effects. This tailored regenerative approach has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of ED in prostate cancer patients following radical prostatectomy, overcoming current treatment limitations.

JournalActa Biomaterialia
Pagination416 - 428
Date Published2023-09-15
KeywordsBioactive fibrous membrane, Erectile dysfunction, Personalized therapy, prostate cancer, Prostatectomy
Peer reviewedyes

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