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This article is the author’s final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 11, Issue 1, December 2021, Article number 21722.

The published version is available at Copyright © Mahmoodi et al.


Spinal cord regeneration is limited due to various obstacles and complex pathophysiological events after injury. Combination therapy is one approach that recently garnered attention for spinal cord injury (SCI) recovery. A composite of three-dimensional (3D) collagen hydrogel containing epothilone B (EpoB)-loaded polycaprolactone (PCL) microspheres (2.5 ng/mg, 10 ng/mg, and 40 ng/mg EpoB/PCL) were fabricated and optimized to improve motor neuron (MN) differentiation efficacy of human endometrial stem cells (hEnSCs). The microspheres were characterized using liquid chromatography-mass/mass spectrometry (LC-mas/mas) to assess the drug release and scanning electron microscope (SEM) for morphological assessment. hEnSCs were isolated, then characterized by flow cytometry, and seeded on the optimized 3D composite. Based on cell morphology and proliferation, cross-linked collagen hydrogels with and without 2.5 ng/mg EpoB loaded PCL microspheres were selected as the optimized formulations to compare the effect of EpoB release on MN differentiation. After differentiation, the expression of MN markers was estimated by real-time PCR and immunofluorescence (IF). The collagen hydrogel containing the EpoB group had the highest HB9 and ISL-1 expression and the longest neurite elongation. Providing a 3D permissive environment with EpoB, significantly improves MN-like cell differentiation and maturation of hEnSCs and is a promising approach to replace lost neurons after SCI.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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