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Extracellular matrix could lead to advances in regenerative medicine

Date:
January 5, 2012
Source:
National Physical Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have created a functional model of the native extracellular matrix that provides structural support to cells to aid growth and proliferation. The model could lead to advances in regenerative medicine. The extracellular matrix provides the physical and chemical conditions that enable the development of all biological tissues. It is a complex nano-to-microscale structure made up of protein fibers and serves as a dynamic substrate that supports tissue repair and regeneration.

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) image of the designed extracellular matrix.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Physical Laboratory

NPL scientists have created a functional model of the native extracellular matrix which provides structural support to cells to aid growth and proliferation and could lead to advances in regenerative medicine.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides the physical and chemical conditions that enable the development of all biological tissues. It is a complex nano-to-microscale structure made up of protein fibres and serves as a dynamic substrate that supports tissue repair and regeneration.

Human-made structures designed to mimic and replace the native matrix in damaged or diseased tissues are highly sought after to advance our understanding of tissue organisation and to make regenerative medicine a reality.

Self-assembling peptide fibres that have similar properties to those of the native matrices are of particular interest. However, these near-crystalline nanostructures fail to arrange themselves into interconnected meshes at the microscopic scale, which is critical for bringing cells together and supporting tissue development.

To solve this problem, a research team at NPL designed a small protein consisting of two complementary domains (structural units) that promote the formation of highly branched networks of fibres that span microscopic dimensions. The team showed that the created matrix is very efficient in supporting cell attachment, growth and proliferation.

This research is part of the NPL-led international research project, 'Multiscale measurements in biophysical systems', which is jointly funded by NPL and the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

Read the full article detailing this research published in Angewandte Chemie -- the premier and most authoritative publication for critical advances in chemical research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Physical Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Angelo Bella, Santanu Ray, Michael Shaw, Maxim G. Ryadnov. Arbitrary Self-Assembly of Peptide Extracellular Microscopic Matrices. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201104647

Cite This Page:

National Physical Laboratory. "Extracellular matrix could lead to advances in regenerative medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220102532.htm>.
National Physical Laboratory. (2012, January 5). Extracellular matrix could lead to advances in regenerative medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220102532.htm
National Physical Laboratory. "Extracellular matrix could lead to advances in regenerative medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220102532.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

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