Nanotube and stem cell cocktail heals damaged brain tissue

In nano on September 19, 2006 at 10:23 am

Filed in archive Research by george elvin on September 17, 2006
If the thought of carbon nanotubes coursing through the bloodstream makes you nervous, you may want to leave the room now. Researchers at Brown University have injected a cocktail of carbon nanofibers and stem cells directly into the brains of rats. And as if that wasn’t enough, the rats had already suffered strokes. The result? The nanotube and stem cell cocktail healed neural tissue damaged by the stroke.

Here’s how it worked, as reported by Chemical & Engineering News:

Working in collaboration with researchers at Yonsei University, Seoul, Brown Professor Thomas J. Webster combined neural stem cells with either hydrophobic or hydrophilic carbon nanofibers and injected the cocktail into damaged regions of the brains of rats that had suffered a simulated stroke. After a few weeks, both types of nanofibers with stem cells promoted the growth of new neural tissue. On their own, neither nanofibers nor stem cells triggered neural tissue regeneration.

Webster attributes the mixture’s regenerative power to the fibers’ favorable interaction with laminin, a key protein for promoting stem cell differentiation into neurons. Webster also thinks the nanofibers’ ability to conduct electricity could help wire the neurons to one another.
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