Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists grow neurons using nanostructures

23.01.2004


Scientists at Northwestern University have designed synthetic molecules that promote neuron growth, a promising development that could lead to the reversal of paralysis due to spinal cord injury.



"We have created new materials that because of their chemical structure interact with cells of the central nervous system in ways that may help prevent the formation of the scar that is often linked to paralysis after spinal cord injury," said Samuel I. Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine.

Similar to earlier experiments that promoted bone growth, the scientists now have successfully grown nerve cells using an artificial three-dimensional network of nanofibers, an important technique in regenerative medicine. The results will be published online Jan. 22 by the journal Science.


"We have shown that our scaffold selectively and rapidly directs cell differentiation, driving neural progenitor cells to become neurons and not astrocytes," said Stupp, who led the research team in Evanston. "Astrocytes are a major problem in spinal cord injury because they lead to scarring and act as a barrier to neuron repair."

The innovative scaffold is made up of nanofibers formed by peptide amphiphile molecules. The scientists’ key breakthrough was designing the peptide amphiphiles so that when they self-assembled into the scaffold a specific sequence of five amino acids known to promote neuron growth were presented in enormous density on the outer surfaces.

"This was all done by design," said Stupp, who is also director of the University’s Institute for Bioengineering and Nanoscience in Advanced Medicine. "By including a specific biological signal on the nanostructure we were able to customize the new materials for neurons."

In collaboration with the lab of John A. Kessler, Benjamin and Virginia T. Boshes Professor of Neurology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Stupp and his team observed that when the peptide amphiphiles were placed in solution and combined with neural progenitor cells (which are present in the central nervous system and able to differentiate into different types of cells) the nanofiber scaffolds formed and led quickly to the selective differentiation of the cells into neurons.

In subsequent experiments, the researchers successfully delivered the peptide amphiphile solution, using a simple injection, to the site of a spinal cord injury in a laboratory rat. Upon contact with the tissue, the solution was transformed into a solid scaffold.

In addition to Stupp and Kessler, other authors on the Science paper are Gabriel A. Silva and Catherine Czeisler (lead authors), Krista L. Niece, Elia Beniash and Daniel Harrington, all from Northwestern University. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nwu.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>