A step toward repairing the central nervous system
Neuronal cells cultures through a confocal microscope. The cytoskeleton is stained red, the nuclei blue and proliferative nuclei green.
Despite recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of nerve injury, tissue-engineering solutions for repairing damage in the central nervous system (CNS) remain elusive, owing to the crucial and complex role played by the neural stem cell (NSC) niche. This zone, in which stem cells are retained after embryonic development for the production of new cells, exerts a tight control over many crucial tasks such as growth promotion and the recreation of essential biochemical and physical cues for neural cell differentiation.
According to the first author of the paper, Zaida Álvarez, from the Group on Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), "in order to develop tissue-engineering strategies to repair damage to the CNS, it is essential to design biomaterials that closely mimic the NSC niche and its physical and biochemical characteristics".
In the study headed by Soledad Alcántara of the University of Barcelona, the team tested types of polylactic acid (PLA) with different proportions of isomers L and D/L, a biodegradable material allowing neural cell adhesion and growth, as materials for nerve regeneration. They found that one type, PLA with a proportion of isomers of 70/30, maintained the important pools of neuronal and glial progenitor cells in vitro. PLA 70/30 was more amorphous, degraded faster and, crucially, released significant amounts of L-lactate, which is essential for the maintenance and differentiation of neural progenitor cells. "The aim of the research was to find a biomaterial able to sustain the population of neural stem cells and to generate new differentiated cells in order to start the development of an implant that allows brain regeneration," explains Dr Alcántara.
"The mechanical and surface properties of PLA70/30, which we used here in the form of microthin films, make it a good substrate for neural cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation," adds Álvarez. "The physical properties of this material and the release of L-lactate when it degrades, which provides an alternative oxidative substrate for neural cells, act synergistically to modulate progenitor phenotypes", concludes the researcher.
The results suggest that the introduction of 3D patterns mimicking the architecture of the embryonic NSC niches on PLA70/30-based scaffolds may be a good starting point for the design of brain-implantable devices. "These will be able to induce or activate existing neural progenitor cells to self-renew and produce new neurons, boosting the CNS regenerative response in situ," states Álvarez.
Enabling the CNS to regenerate could open doors to promising new strategies to tackle accidental damage as well as numerous diseases like stroke and degenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
More information: Alvarez, Z. et al. (March 2013). The effect of the composition of PLA films and lactate release on glial and neuronal maturation and the maintenance of the neuronal progenitor niche. Biomaterials 34, 9, 2221–2233.
Provided by University of Barcelona
- Identification of a novel neural stem cell type Jan 14, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers identify key mechanism that regulates the development of stem cells into neurons Nov 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Growing up as a neural stem cell: The importance of clinging together and then letting go Apr 25, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- When is a stem cell not really a stem cell? Aug 26, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Wnt signaling pathway plays key role in adult nerve cell generation: study Sep 10, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
18 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Trends in Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and smoking explain a significant proportion of the decline of intestinal-type noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma (NCGA) incidence in US men between 1978 and 2008, and are estimated ...
Medical research 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older ...
Medical research 12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at Emory University have identified a protein that stimulates a pair of "orphan receptors" found in the brain, solving a long-standing biological puzzle and possibly leading to future treatments for neurological ...
Medical research 12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
Medical research 13 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (6) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine will study gender differences in how the heart uses and stores fat—its main energy source—and how changes in fat metabolism play ...
Medical research 16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
13 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
11 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
6 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
The gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened since 1985 and efforts to reduce this gap should focus on improving physical health, suggest researchers in a paper ...
6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0