With the development of transplantation, scientists have found more and more ways to keep tissues viable for as long as possible after their removal from the body. This is useful not only for organ transplants, but also for their investigation. In this case, the "most capricious" tissue in this respect remains the tissue of the central nervous system, which usually has to be examined "here and now". However, a group of scientists managed to find a way to preserve nerve tissue for several weeks. And that is a real breakthrough!
How can you keep the brain alive during the transplant?
Unfortunately, we do not yet talk about brain transplantation, but the discovery of experts at the RIKEN Research Center in Japan will undoubtedly help in the future when reputable scientists and not Sergio Canavero talk about a transplantation of nerve tissue. Although it is quite possible that the "scientist" still "shoots", which we very doubt. In this case, however, we will inform you immediately in our telegram channel.
But back to the Japanese invention, the new system uses a microfluidic device that can prevent the drying out of tissue as well as the accumulation of fluid therein because the body tissue is very well drained for different solutions. Therefore, it does not work to put only tissue in a nutrient medium. On the other hand, the lack of a nutrient medium causes the tissue not only to die of nutrient deficiency, but also to "dehydration" and lack of gas exchange between the tissues.
To solve this problem, RIKEN scientists developed a device that uses polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a material commonly used as an antifoam in various preparations. The new device has a semipermeable channel surrounded by an artificial membrane and solid PDMS walls. Instead of constantly submerging in fluid, the tissue "benefited" from the fact that the nutrient medium circulated in the system and passed through a permeable membrane that allowed for proper gas exchange. It sounds easy, but finding the optimal conditions was extremely difficult.
The control of the flow in the medium was difficult because the microchannel that formed between the walls of the PDMS and the porous membrane had non-standard physical properties. Nevertheless, we succeeded after numerous attempts and errors. – notes the leading author of the robot, dr. Nobutoshi Ota.
The team tested a device using tissue from the suprachiasmatic core of the mouse brain, a complex part of the central nervous system that controls the circadian rhythm. In a series of experiments, the tissue was kept active and functional for more than 25 days. At the same time, the nucleus still had a good circadian activity. In parallel, the same area of the brain served as a control but remained in a normal environment. In it, the neuronal activity decreased by 6% after 10 hours, and later the tissue completely ceased to function.
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According to the authors of the work, the new method will have several advantages. In the short term, it will be useful to observe biological development and to test how tissue responds to central nervous system drugs. The long-term benefits are obvious – the transplantation. Currently, a team of experts is planning to develop both areas.