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Mohammadjavad Eslamian1 Mohammad Reza Abidian1

1, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, United States

Conducting polymers actuators are one of the most promising materials for development of controlled drug delivery systems, owing to their outstanding capability to reversibly change their volume during electrochemical process. We previously demonstrated the precise release of drugs such as dexamethasone from conducting polymer nanotubes. The fabrication process involved electrospinning of drug-loaded biodegradable nanofibers on microfabricated electrodes, followed by electrochemical deposition of conducting polymers on microelectrodes and around the electrospun nanofibers. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) is one of the most versatile conducting polymers employed in the field of polymer electronics, owing to its superior electrical conductivity and chemical stability. Soluble growth molecules such as nerve growth factor (NGF) provide trophic support for neurons and are vital for axonal growth. The goal of this research is to develop a nanoscale device for precise delivery of NGF. To accomplish this task, NGF is encapsulated in aligned poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanofibers via emulsion electrospinning process on gold coated silicon-based electrodes. Then, a thin layer of PEDOT is galvanostatically deposited on the electrodes and around the electrospun nanofibers at the current density of 1 mA/cm2 for 1 min to form NGF-loaded aligned PEDOT nanotubes. The outer diameter of PEDOT nanotubes is 440±91 nm. The release behavior of NGF from PEDOT nanotubes is investigated by electrical actuation of PEDOT nanotubes in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The electrical actuation will be performed using cyclic voltammetry (CV) at the potential range of -0.8 V to +0.4 V at different scan rates, including 10, 50, 100, and 200 mV/s, and for different numbers of CV cycles (up to 100 cycles). Finally, the NGF release rate will be assessed as a function of scan rates and CV cycles. The results of this study may have impact for development of NGF delivery platforms for modular growth of axons in both central and peripheral nervous systems.

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