About 50,000 cases of peripheral nerve injuries occur annually [1] resulting in patient pain or loss of touch. Methods of repairing peripheral nerve gaps is essential for aiding in patient recovery. During development, growth, and joint movement, nerves are exposed to mechanical tension that is hypothesized to aid in their growth. Neurons can grow less than .5–1 mm/day but are known to grow up to ∼3 cm/day during development, theorized from factors of stretch on cell cytoskeleton during growth [2,3]. Our focus was to investigate the effects of mechanical strain on nerve growth. We fabricated biodegradable, electrospun, polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds to create three-dimensional, nanofibrous networks for Dorsal Root Ganglia (DRG) neuron extension and growth. To test the effects of scaffold stretch and tension on DRG growth, scaffolds were stretched using a custom scaffold stretcher. DRG growth was investigated for 3mm changes in scaffold length on days 0 and 1 of DRG development. Further investigation of DRG growth on day 2 and 3 as well as stretches of 6 and 9mm are being performed. In addition, an incremental stretch test for total stretches of 3, 6, and 9mm will be performed.

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