3D meshes of carbon nanotubes guide functional reconnection of segregated spinal explants

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Science Advances  15 Jul 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 7, e1600087
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600087

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In modern neuroscience, significant progress in developing structural scaffolds integrated with the brain is provided by the increasing use of nanomaterials. We show that a multiwalled carbon nanotube self-standing framework, consisting of a three-dimensional (3D) mesh of interconnected, conductive, pure carbon nanotubes, can guide the formation of neural webs in vitro where the spontaneous regrowth of neurite bundles is molded into a dense random net. This morphology of the fiber regrowth shaped by the 3D structure supports the successful reconnection of segregated spinal cord segments. We further observed in vivo the adaptability of these 3D devices in a healthy physiological environment. Our study shows that 3D artificial scaffolds may drive local rewiring in vitro and hold great potential for the development of future in vivo interfaces.

  • Nanomaterials
  • carbon nanotubes
  • organotypic cultures
  • spinal cord
  • microscopy

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