Lobachevsky University biologists improve brain cell repair technology
Researchers at the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine have improved the structure of hydrogel matrices for repairing brain cells and patented a system for assessing their biocompatibility.
Scaffolds, three-dimensional bioactive matrices based on hyaluronic acid, are a promising tool for repairing the brain from the consequences of severe trauma and tumours. Such scaffolds support the anatomical structure of the tissue and allow free movement of bodily fluids in the affected area. The matrix is gradually replaced by natural tissue, thus restoring the functions of the damaged areas of the brain.
Lobachevsky University biologists grew brain cells on scaffolds constructed from multiple overlapping lattices, and the scaffolds were supplemented with neurotrophic factors (BDNF, GDNF) and brain proteins.
"The honeycomb-like structure allows neurons to be better attached to the scaffold, allowing for free proliferation of nerve tissue and delivery of bodily fluids. Scaffolds are based on modified hyaluronic acid, which is compatible with the cells of the nervous system and its breakdown products are not toxic to brain cells. The scaffolds also contain protein factors that stimulate neuronal growth, increase nerve cell survival, and improve cognitive abilities and long-term memory," said Tatiana Mishchenko, Senior Researcher at the Neuroprotection Methods Laboratory of the UNN Institute of Neuroscience, Associate Professor at the Neurotechnology Department of the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine.
The structures developed were tested on brain cell cultures in vitro and on mice with traumatic brain injury in vivo. The results of the studies demonstrated the absence of cytotoxicity and high biocompatibility of the scaffolds for brain cells. According to the scientists, this opens up some promising prospects in the field of replacement therapy.
The method for comprehensive assessment of scaffold biocompatibility developed by Nizhny Novgorod scientists was patented in 2022. The technology will improve the efficiency and accuracy of assessing the risks of developing pathologies and graft rejection.
The scientists plan to further improve the architecture of the matrices and reduce their cytotoxicity.
The research was carried out with the participation of scientists from Sechenov University, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Crystallography and Photonics Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The research was supported by the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.