Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanoscale whiskers from sea creatures could grow human muscle tissue

14.03.2011
Nanoscale whiskers from sea creatures could grow human muscle tissue

Minute whiskers of nanoscale dimensions taken from sea creatures could hold the key to creating working human muscle tissue, University of Manchester researchers have discovered.

Scientists have found that cellulose from tunicates, commonly known as sea squirts, can influence the behaviour of skeletal muscle cells in the laboratory.

These nanostructures are several thousand times smaller than muscle cells and are the smallest physical feature found to cause cell alignment.

Alignment is important since a lot of tissue in the body, including muscle, contains aligned fibres which give it strength and stiffness.

Cellulose is a polysaccharide – a long chain of sugars joined together – usually found in plants and is the main component of paper and certain textiles such as cotton.

It is already being used for a number of different medical applications, including wound dressings, but this is the first time it has been proposed for creating skeletal muscle tissue.

Tunicates grow on rocks and man-made structures in coastal waters around the world.

Cellulose extracted from tunicates is particularly well suited for making muscle tissue due to its unique properties.

University of Manchester academics Dr Stephen Eichhorn and Dr Julie Gough, working with PhD student James Dugan, chemically extract the cellulose in the form of nanowhiskers. One nanometre is one billionth of a metre and these minute whiskers are only 10s of nanometres wide – far thinner than a human hair.

When aligned and parallel to each other, they cause rapid muscle cell alignment and fusion.

The method is both simple and relatively quick, which could lead to doctors and scientists having the ability to create the normal aligned architecture of skeletal muscle tissue.

This tissue could be used to help repair existing muscle or even grow muscle from scratch.

Creating artificial tissue which can be used to replace damaged or diseased human muscles could revolutionise healthcare, and be of huge benefit to millions of people all over the world.

Dr Eichhorn thinks the cellulose extracted from the creatures could lead to a significant medical advancement. He added: "Although it is quite a detailed chemical process, the potential applications are very interesting.

"Cellulose is being looked at very closely around the world because of its unique properties, and because it is a renewable resource, but this is the first time that it has been used for skeletal muscle tissue engineering applications.

"There is potential for muscle precision engineering, but also for other architecturally aligned structures such as ligaments and nerves."

PhD student James Dugan has become the first UK student to win the American Chemical Society's Cellulose and Renewable Material Division award for his work on nanowhiskers.

Daniel Cochlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>