Aligned fibrous PVDF-TrFE scaffolds with Schwann cells support neurite extension and myelination in vitro

Siliang Wu, Ming Shuo Chen, Patrice Maurel, Yee Shuan Lee, Mary Bartlett Bunge, Treena Livingston Arinzeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective. Polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE), which is a piezoelectric, biocompatible polymer, holds promise as a scaffold in combination with Schwann cells (SCs) for spinal cord repair. Piezoelectric materials can generate electrical activity in response to mechanical deformation, which could potentially stimulate spinal cord axon regeneration. Our goal in this study was to investigate PVDF-TrFE scaffolds consisting of aligned fibers in supporting SC growth and SC-supported neurite extension and myelination in vitro. Approach. Aligned fibers of PVDF-TrFE were fabricated using the electrospinning technique. SCs and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explants were co-cultured to evaluate SC-supported neurite extension and myelination on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds. Main results. PVDF-TrFE scaffolds supported SC growth and neurite extension, which was further enhanced by coating the scaffolds with Matrigel. SCs were oriented and neurites extended along the length of the aligned fibers. SCs in co-culture with DRGs on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds promoted longer neurite extension as compared to scaffolds without SCs. In addition to promoting neurite extension, SCs also formed myelin around DRG neurites on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds. Significance. This study demonstrated PVDF-TrFE scaffolds containing aligned fibers supported SC-neurite extension and myelination. The combination of SCs and PVDF-TrFE scaffolds may be a promising tissue engineering strategy for spinal cord repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056010
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 18 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Schwann cell
  • electrospinning
  • myelination
  • neural tissue engineering
  • neurite extension


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