TAICHUNG, Taiwan, July 31, 2014 — Laser therapy, along with a newly developed artificial nerve conduit, could aid regeneration of the peripheral and sciatic nerves. Researchers from Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology developed the nerve conduit, which contains genipin cross-linked gelatin made using beta-tricalcium phosphate ceramic particles (Genipin-Gelatin-TCP, or GGT). The researchers combined the GGT nerve conduit with low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and found it could accelerate the process of regeneration, as well as the restoration rate of nerves and improvement of muscle recruitment. This type of biodegradable conduit has shown potential for reconstructing nerves across long gaps, the researchers said. In this study, the new conduit bridged a transection of the sciatic nerve in rats. The researchers demonstrated that the effectiveness of the non-invasive LLLT in the regeneration process increased nerve function. However, additional research is needed for the application of LLLT alongside nerve conduits, according to the study, as it is a relatively new concept. Gelatin is a biodegradable polymer, according to the study, and offers biocompatibility, plasticity and adhesiveness. Another alternative for nerve repair and regeneration is collagen-based nerve conduits, the researchers said, but noted that it is not only more expensive to use than gelatin, it is more prone to cracks and tears, especially when a suture needle penetrates the conduits in a medical procedure. The researcher said this work could also improve the functional and morphologic recovery of peripheral nerves. Further study of LLLT could pave the way for more effective, non-invasive treatment of various nerve diseases and injuries, they said. The research was published in Neural Regeneration Research (doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.135323). For more information, visit icd.ctust.edu.tw.