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研究人员利用纺糖丝修复受损神经 - China Medical Device Manufacturer
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Wed, January 17th, 2018

2009 秋季刊 » 技术新知
研究人员利用纺糖丝修复受损神经

荧光染色的样本显示出生长在小管上的神经绝缘细胞(左图)以及沿小管纵向排列的细胞和神经元(右图)。

普渡大学(美国印第安纳州,West Lafayette)的研究人员发现了一种修复断离神经的方法,其过程类似于棉花糖的制作。这种低成本技术利用纺糖丝制造一种合成导管,以此连接受损神经的两端。

这种方法可用来治疗神经损伤患者,而传统手术治疗需要一根健康神经或身体其它部位的自体移植物。据普渡大学报道,美国每年有80万周围神经损伤的患者,其中约有5万人需要进行手术治疗。由于提供自体神经的部位会因神经缺失而出现丧失感觉或功能,因此研究人员正致力于研发一种支架取代自体移植神经。

普渡大学Weldon生物医学工程学院与基础医学部副教授Riyi Shi说,研究团队采用一种价廉的聚合物及与糖果中所含糖份相同的糖来制造样本支架,其造价仅有几美元:“这是一种非常独特的创意,其简单、高效使之与其它神经修复方法迥然不同。”

由电子显微镜扫描拍摄的人造彩色图像(左图)显示出黄色的糖链和蓝色的聚合物涂层。右图是导管和小孔的侧视图,这些小孔可以输送营养物质并排出正在生长的神经细胞中的废物。照片由普渡大学提供。

这种新型支架的结构类似于天然神经的构架,由数千根管束集结而成,内部包含具有传导功能的神经细胞。研究人员首先通过熔解蔗糖获得糖纤维。聚L-乳酸覆盖的丝状结构受到分解后,留下的中空多聚物管的分布方式与神经相似。

神经绝缘细胞可同时在导管内外生长,并沿导管呈纵向排列。该支架可再生轴突,轴突是神经细胞的一部分,附着在细胞体上,负责传递信号。支架表面面积的增加意味着加快病变发生后的再生过程。快速再生可以防止连接受损或断离神经的肌肉和器官出现萎缩。

研究人员最初将研究重点集中在四肢和全身的周围神经上。这种方法还可用于修复因疾病或外伤引起的血管损伤。研究人员在普渡大学麻痹研究中心进行的研究时发现,聚合物内含的小孔可用于传递营养物质,同时可以排出正在生长的神经细胞中的废物。

该研究项目已发表于Langmuir杂志。同时,《SoftMatter》杂志也刊登了康奈尔大学进行的类似研究。


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