Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New tissue engineering breakthrough encourages nerve repair

Date:
July 8, 2013
Source:
Open University
Summary:
A new combination of tissue engineering techniques could reduce the need for nerve grafts, according to new research. Regeneration of nerves is challenging when the damaged area is extensive, and surgeons currently have to take a nerve graft from elsewhere in the body, leaving a second site of damage. Nerve grafts contain aligned tissue structures and Schwann cells that support and guide neuron growth through the damaged area, encouraging function to be restored. Now medical researchers have developed a way to manufacture artificial nerve tissue with the potential to be used as an alternative to nerve grafts.

A new combination of tissue engineering techniques could reduce the need for nerve grafts, according to new research by The Open University. Regeneration of nerves is challenging when the damaged area is extensive, and surgeons currently have to take a nerve graft from elsewhere in the body, leaving a second site of damage. Nerve grafts contain aligned tissue structures and Schwann cells that support and guide neuron growth through the damaged area, encouraging function to be restored.

Related Articles


The research, published in Biomaterials, reported a way to manufacture artificial nerve tissue with the potential to be used as an alternative to nerve grafts.

Pieces of Engineered Neural Tissue (EngNT) are formed by controlling natural Schwann cell behaviour in a three-dimensional collagen gel so that the cells elongate and align, then a stabilisation process removes excess fluid to leave robust artificial tissues. These living biomaterials contain aligned Schwann cells in an aligned collagen environment, recreating key features of normal nerve tissue.

Incorrect orientation of regenerating nerve cells can lead to delays in repair, scarring and poor restoration of nerve function. Much research has taken place into how support cells (Schwann cells) can be combined with materials to guide nerve regeneration. The new technology from The Open University avoids the use of synthetic materials by building neural tissue from collagen, a protein that is abundant in normal nerve tissue. Building the artificial tissue from natural proteins and directing the cellular alignment using normal cell-material interactions means the EngNT can integrate effectively at the repair site.

Dr James Phillips, Lecturer in Health Sciences at The Open University, said: "We previously reported how self-alignment of Schwann cells could be achieved by using a tethered collagen hydrogel, which exploited cells' natural ability to orientate in the appropriate direction by using their internal contraction forces. Our current research shows that cell-alignment in the hydrogel can be stabilised using plastic compression. The compression removes fluid from the gels, leaving a strong and stable aligned structure that has many features in common with nerve tissue."

The team incorporated Schwann cells within the aligned material to form artificial neural tissue that could potentially be used in peripheral nerve repair. The technique could be applied to other regenerative medicine scenarios, where a stable artificial tissue containing aligned cellular architecture would be of benefit.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Melanie Georgiou, Stephen C.J. Bunting, Heather A. Davies, Alison J. Loughlin, Jonathan P. Golding, James B. Phillips. Engineered neural tissue for peripheral nerve repair. Biomaterials, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.06.025

Cite This Page:

Open University. "New tissue engineering breakthrough encourages nerve repair." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708102938.htm>.
Open University. (2013, July 8). New tissue engineering breakthrough encourages nerve repair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708102938.htm
Open University. "New tissue engineering breakthrough encourages nerve repair." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708102938.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins