The use of bioactive matrices in regenerative therapies for traumatic brain injury

Hui X. Tan, Mark P. Del Borgo, Marie-Isabel Aguilar, John S. Forsythe, Juliet M. Taylor, Peter J. Crack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Functional deficits due to neuronal loss are a common theme across multiple neuropathologies, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). Apart from mitigating cell death, another approach to treating brain injuries involves re-establishing the neural circuitry at the lesion site by utilizing exogeneous and/or endogenous stem cells to achieve functional recovery. While there has been limited success, the emergence of new bioactive matrices that promote neural repair introduces new perspectives on the development of regenerative therapies for TBI. This review briefly discusses current development on cell-based therapies and the use of bioactive matrices, hydrogels in particular, when incorporated in regenerative therapies. Desirable characteristics of bioactive matrices that have been shown to augment neural repair in TBI models were identified and further discussed. Understanding the relative outcomes of newly developed biomaterials implanted in vivo can better guide the development of biomaterials as a therapeutic strategy, for biomaterial-based cellular therapies are still in their nascent stages. Nonetheless, the value of bioactive matrices as a treatment for acute brain injuries should be appreciated and further developed. Statement of significance: Cell-based therapies have received attention as an alternative therapeutic strategy to improve clinical outcome post-traumatic brain injury but have achieved limited success. Whilst the incorporation of newly developed biomaterials in regenerative therapies has shown promise in augmenting neural repair, studies have revealed new hurdles which must be overcome to improve their therapeutic efficacy. This review discusses the recent development of cell-based therapies with a specific focus on the use of bioactive matrices in the form of hydrogels, to complement cell transplantation within the injured brain. Moreover, this review consolidates in vivo animal studies that demonstrate relative functional outcome upon the implantation of different biomaterials to highlight their desirable traits to guide their development for regenerative therapies in traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


  • Bioactive matrices
  • Cellular therapy
  • Neural repair
  • Tissue-scaffold interactions
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

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