Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wound healing with the power of nanofibers

29.04.2019

The healing of injuries, especially of severed nerve tracts, nowadays requires complex methods, such as sewing the two nerve stumps together. Scientists from the department of Prof. Tanja Weil (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research), led by Dr. Christopher Synatschke, have now developed a new type of biomaterial in cooperation with researchers led by Prof. Bernd Knöll from the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Ulm.

In the case of injuries of the so-called peripheral nervous system, which are often caused by accidents, the prognosis of healing depends very much on whether the nerve tracts are still partially connected or how large the gap between two nerve endings is.


Nerve cells (green) can grow and adhere to a stable bionetwork (blue) in order to support the healing of a severed nerve.

©: MPI-P, License CC-BY-SA

For gaps in the range from millimeters to centimeters, surgery is nowadays the standard treatment method that promises at least partial regeneration. In this case, the separated nerve ends are sutured together again. The aim is to bring the nerve ends close together so that the remaining small gap is closed by the formation of cells by the body.

Scientists led by Christopher Synatschke, Tanja Weil and Bernd Knöll are working together on the development of fluids that contain nanofibers. These are molecular strands dissolved in water with a thickness of several billionth of a meter. These serve as a scaffold or adhesive base for cells and are non-toxic to the human body.

Such a fiber consists of so-called peptides - short chains of amino acids that can also be found in human proteins. These chains can form a two-dimensional grid or three-dimensional network to which cells such as nerve cells or muscle cells can adhere.

The fluid developed by Synatschke and his colleagues can be injected into wounds. It remains there for many weeks before it is degraded by the body's own processes.

The challenge in the production of a peptide-based bio-network is to identify those possible combinations of molecules - so-called sequences - that combine good biocompatibility with optimal cell adhesion. For this, the scientists first produced a series of nanofibers with systematic changes in their peptide sequence and tested them in cell cultures.

Using detailed molecular analyses and a computer-assisted algorithm, recurring features in the molecular structure could be identified that are expected to be highly suitable for the regeneration of nerve cells. The peptide sequences identified in this way were then examined in detail in a series of cell tests for their ability to support neuronal growth.

"Our bionetwork can be imagined as a rank grid for tomato plants," said Synatschke. "Without grids, the plants cannot grow upwards. Transferred to tomato plants, we have selected a grid to which the plant can adhere well. On a miniaturized scale, our material helps the nerve cells to bridge the gap between two nerve endings."

In order to realistically test the function of the best material, a facial nerve that controls the muscle responsible for the whiskers of mice was cut in a minimal surgical intervention in cooperation with the University of Ulm. The researchers used video recordings to observe the mice over a period of several weeks. They found that mice which had been injected with the biomaterial at the artificially created space between the nerve endings recovered faster and more comprehensively than untreated mice.

After further in-depth medical studies, the researchers hope to develop an alternative method to treat human nerve damage by supporting the healing by a bionetwork scaffold in the wound.

The scientists assume that the body's own growth-promoting proteins remain longer in the wound due to the presence of the peptide chains. In the future, it would therefore be conceivable to functionalize the chains in such a way that, in addition to the scaffold structure, cell growth-promoting molecules are introduced into the biomaterial in order to further increase the healing potential.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Christopher Synatschke
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
Ackermannweg 10
55128 Mainz
Email: synatschke@mpip-mainz.mpg.de
Tel.: 06131-379 153

Originalpublikation:

Schilling, C., Mack, T., Lickfett, S., Sieste, S., Ruggeri, F. S., Sneideris, T., Dutta, A., Bereau, T., Naraghi, R., Sinske, D., Knowles, T. P. J., Synatschke, C. V., Weil, T., Knöll, B., Sequence‐Optimized Peptide Nanofibers as Growth Stimulators for Regeneration of Peripheral Neurons. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 1809112. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.201809112

Weitere Informationen:

Department Prof. Tanja Weil: http://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/weil

Website of Dr. Christopher Synatschke: http://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/synatschke

Website of Prof. Bernd Knöll (Uni Ulm): https://www.uni-ulm.de/med/med-physchem/mitarbeiter/knoell/

Dr. Christian Schneider | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants
24.01.2020 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation
24.01.2020 | RIKEN

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>