Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Parsley and other plants lend form to human stem cell scaffolds

21.03.2017

Borrowing from nature is an age-old theme in science. Form and function go hand-in-hand in the natural world and the structures created by plants and animals are only rarely improved on by humans.

Taking that lesson to heart, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are using the decellularized husks of plants such as parsley, vanilla and orchids to form three-dimensional scaffolds that can then be primed and seeded with human stem cells to optimize their growth in the lab dish and, ultimately, create novel biomedical implants.


Human fibroblast cells, common connective tissue cells, growing on decellularized parsley. A team of UW-Madison researchers from the lab of bioengineering Professor William Murphy is exploring the use of plants to make the three-dimensional structures that may one day be used to repair bone and tissue.

Credit: Gianluca Fontana/UW-Madison

Writing March 20 in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials, a team led by William Murphy, a professor of biomedical engineering and co-director of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, describes the use of a variety of plants to create an efficient, inexpensive and scalable technology for making tiny structures that could one day be used to repair muscle, organs and bone using stem cells.

"Nature provides us with a tremendous reservoir of structures in plants," explains Gianluca Fontana, the lead author of the new study and a UW-Madison postdoctoral fellow. "You can pick the structure you want."

The new technology capitalizes on the elegant, efficient structural qualities of plants: strength, rigidity, porosity, low mass and, importantly, surface area. It may help overcome the limitations of current methods such as 3-D printing and injection molding to create feedstock structures for biomedical applications.

"Plants are really special materials as they have a very high surface area to volume ratio, and their pore structure is uniquely well-designed for fluid transport," says Murphy.

The UW-Madison team collaborated with Madison's Olbrich Botanical Gardens and curator John Wirth to identify plant species that could potentially be transformed into the miniature structures useful for biomedical applications. In addition to plants like parsley and orchid, Wirth and colleagues at Olbrich identified bamboo, elephant ear plants and wasabi as plants whose structural qualities may be amenable to creating scaffolds with properties and shapes useful in bioengineering. The team also collected plants such as the wetland-loving bulrush from the UW Arboretum.

"The vast diversity in the plant kingdom provides virtually any size and shape of interest," notes Murphy, who was prompted to explore the plant world after gazing from his office window onto UW-Madison's Lakeshore Nature Preserve. "It really seemed obvious. Plants are extraordinarily good at cultivating new tissues and organs, and there are thousands of different plant species readily available. They represent a tremendous feedstock of new materials for tissue engineering applications."

The new approach to making scaffolds for tissue engineering depends on cellulose, the primary constituent of the cell walls of green plants. The Wisconsin team found that stripping away all of the other cells that make up the plant, and treating the leftover husks of cellulose with chemicals, entices human stem cells such as fibroblasts -- common connective tissue cells generated from stem cells -- to attach to and grow on the miniature structures.

Stem cells seeded into the scaffolds, according to Fontana, tend to align themselves along the pattern of the scaffold's structure. "Stem cells are sensitive to topography. It influences how cells grow and how well they grow."

That ability to align cells according to the structure of the plant scaffold, adds Murphy, suggests it might be possible to use the materials to control structure and alignment of developing human tissues, a feature critical for nerve and muscle tissues, which require alignment and patterning for their function.

Another critical advantage of the plant scaffolds, notes Murphy, is the apparent ease with which they can be made and manipulated. "They are quite pliable. They can be easily cut, fashioned, rolled or stacked to form a range of different sizes and shapes."

They are also renewable, easy to mass produce and inexpensive.

The scaffolds have yet to be tested in an animal model, but plans are underway to conduct such studies in the near future.

"Toxicity is unlikely, but there is potential for immune responses if these plant scaffolds are implanted into a mammal," says Murphy. "Significant immune responses are less likely in our approach because the plant cells are removed from the scaffolds."

###

The Wisconsin study was supported by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Terry Devitt, (608) 262-8282, trdevitt@wisc.edu

DOWNLOAD PHOTOS: https://uwmadison.box.com/v/stem-cell-scaffold

Media Contact

William Murphy
wlmurphy@ortho.wisc.edu
608-265-9978

 @UWMadScience

http://www.wisc.edu 

William Murphy | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>