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article imageLab grown 3-D brain tissue could help with brain injuries

By Tim Sandle     Aug 16, 2014 in Science
Researchers have engineered rat tissue so that it forms complex networks of functioning neurons. The developed tissue appears to behave normally after an injury, and could lead to innovative research on human brain injury.
Researchers have taken brain tissue (cortical neurons) from a rat, seeded them onto a silk fiber-based scaffold, and assembled the structures into 3-D, doughnut-shape constructs. The end result is a piece of tissue largely resembling functional brain matter.
Explaining the process to The Washington Post, David Kaplan of Tufts University, said: "It’s a form-fitting, Lego-like system, so we don’t have to worry about using glues, and how they might complicate the interfaces between these different compartments."
Commenting on this groundbreaking study, Rosemarie Hunziker, the program director of Tissue Engineering at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, said in a research note: "This work is an exceptional feat. It combines a deep understand of brain physiology with a large and growing suite of bioengineering tools to create an environment that is both necessary and sufficient to mimic brain function."
The implications for future research on humans is that researchers may be able to track the tissue response to traumatic brain injury in real time, attempt repairs, and then track the repairs and see how the repair progresses over longer periods of time.
The research has been reported to the journal PNAS, in a paper titled "Bioengineered functional brain-like cortical tissue."
More about brain tissue, 3d, cortical neurons, Brain
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