Oist researchers create special scaffolds to help repair damaged spinal cord neurons

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8bda9e6ce413542 - Oist researchers create special scaffolds to help repair damaged spinal cord neurons

scaffolds that assist the successful growth of neurons (microscopic imaging, figure from: oist)

compared with nerves in hands, feet and other parts that can heal easily, nerves in the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord, Has a slightly different way of working. Professor Marco terenzio of the Okinawa Institute of science and Technology (oist) in Japan said:

up to now, it is still a practical challenge to regenerate the damaged neurons in the spinal cord, because only a few types of neurons in the spine have limited healing ability. More importantly, neurons not only need to grow several millimeters, but also may produce scar tissue. Therefore, we need to provide an artificial scaffold to help neurons bridge this gap

in fact, we have heard an interesting example as early as 2018. At that time, the research team implanted silicon scaffolds coated with 3D printing stem cells into the injured site in order to establish new connections between the remaining nerves

earlier this year, another study also considered gene therapy to promote nerve fiber regeneration and improve tissue repair in mice

Oist researchers create special scaffolds to help repair damaged spinal cord neurons

electron microscopic image, one grid on the left, 100 μ m. Right grid 1 μ m 。

now, oist scientists are trying to focus more on the growth mode of neurons. Usually, neurons develop radially from the center to the outside

but when the connection with adjacent neurons needs to be repaired, it is preferable to let them grow in a straight line to close the cut gap

to this end, researchers have created a special scaffold (fibrous material used to provide structural and chemical support for neuronal growth) to promote this behavior of mimicking extracellular matrix

this work involves designing scaffolds with grooves and dents to encourage directional (rather than radial) growth of neurons, and using advanced printing technology to manufacture finished products

through the so-called “2-photon lithography”, researchers selected a photosensitive polymer and hardened it by laser irradiation

however, in this example, only the laser needs to be emitted at the necessary part of the material, and the remaining unhardened parts can be easily washed away, leaving a well-designed support part

Oist researchers create special scaffolds to help repair damaged spinal cord neurons(1)

Professor Marco terenzio added: “its working principle is a bit like 3D printing, but the specific implementation method is the opposite. We do not deposit materials where we need to build the framework, but remove materials to achieve this purpose”

it has been proved that this structure has excellent thermal and mechanical stability, and more importantly, it has biocompatibility. Scientists have successfully carried out experiments in mice and showed that it can be used to cultivate and repair muscle motor neurons between brain and muscle

these neurons can attach and grow on the scaffold as needed, and the researchers found that neurons can penetrate all layers of the scaffold, which is particularly exciting. Next, they hope to use this design as a template to develop scaffolds that can be used in mice in the future