Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Coatings to help medical implants to connect with neurons

Jessica Winter
Jessica Winter

Abstract:
Plastic coatings could someday help neural implants treat conditions as diverse as Parkinson's disease and macular degeneration.

Coatings to help medical implants to connect with neurons

Columbus, OH | Posted on August 21st, 2008

The coatings encourage neurons in the body to grow and connect with the electrodes that provide treatment.

Jessica O. Winter, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State University described the research Thursday, August 21 at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia. She is also an assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

Worldwide, researchers are developing medical implants that stimulate neurons to treat conditions caused by neural damage. Most research focuses on preventing the body from rejecting the implant, but the Ohio State researchers are focusing instead on how to boost the implants' effectiveness.

"We're trying to get the nerve tissue to integrate with a device -- to grow into it to form a better connection," Winter said.

She and her colleagues are infusing water-soluble polymers with neurotrophins, proteins that help neurons grow and survive.

They are combining different polymers, some shaped like tiny spheres and fibers, to create composite coatings that release neurotrophins in a steady dose over time. The coatings also give nerves a scaffold to cling to as they grow around an implant.

The researchers coated two kinds of electrodes -- one, a flat electrode used in retinal implants, and the other a cylindrical electrode array used in deep brain stimulation. The first is being used in experimental treatments for macular degeneration, while the second holds promise for suppressing tremors in people who have Parkinson's disease.

The first coating they developed was made of polyethylene glycol-polylactic acid (PEGPLA) -- a polymer often used in medical implants.

They placed the PEGPLA-coated electrodes in an array of cell cultures and measured how long the coating dispensed the neurotrophins, and how the cells responded.

They tested the retinal implants with retinal cells taken from rabbits, and the deep brain electrodes with PC12 cells -- cells that grow into neurons -- which were taken from cancer tissue in rats. In both cases, neurons grew from the cells and extended toward the electrodes.

Ideally, Winter explained, coatings would release neurotrophins for up to three months, since that's the length of time that nerves in the body require to heal after implant surgery.

Using only PEGPLA, they found that the implant would release neurotrophins for three weeks.

That's why the researchers are now combining it with two other biodegradable polymers: polylactic co-glycol acid (PLGA) microspheres and polycaprolactone (PCL) polyester nanofibers.

In this scheme, one polymer releases an initial burst of the chemical, then another polymer begins its release, and then another.

At the time of the American Chemical Society meeting, Winter and her team were still measuring the performance of the PEGPLA-PLGA-PCL coating. But the initial results look promising.

"To get long-term release, we think these multi-component systems are the way to go," Winter said. "We can control the release by combining the materials in different ways, and we're confident that we can extend the release time further -- even to 90 days."

As researchers work to develop neural implants, they face many challenges, including how to provide enough electrical stimulation to nerves without damaging surrounding tissue.

Because the coatings encourage neurons to connect directly with electrodes, this technology could allow researchers to develop smaller implants -- ones that contain many densely packed electrodes to provide a high amount of stimulation in a small space, thus better preserving surrounding tissue.

Winter's coauthors on the presentation include Ning Han, a doctoral student; Lee Siers, a masters student; Michael Owens, a bachelors student who recently graduated; John Larison and Jean Wheasler, both currently undergraduate students, and Kanal Parikh, a former student of Reynoldsburg High School who will be a freshman at Ohio State this fall.

This research was funded by Ohio State University.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jessica O. Winter
(614) 247-7668


Written by
Pam Frost Gorder
(614) 292-9475

Copyright © Ohio State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

First Home-Made Edible Herbal Nanodrug Presented to Pharmacies across Iran December 17th, 2014

Discoveries

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE