'Nanofiber yarn' makes for stretchy, protective artificial tissue

phys.org | 4/22/2019 | Staff
joseph76 (Posted by) Level 3
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The human body is held together by an intricate cable system of tendons and muscles, engineered by nature to be tough and highly stretchable. An injury to any of these tissues, particularly in a major joint like the shoulder or knee, can require surgical repairs and weeks of limited mobility to fully heal.

Now MIT engineers have come up with a tissue engineering design that may enable flexible range of motion in injured tendons and muscles during healing.

Team - Coils - Living - Cells - Scaffolds

The team has engineered small coils lined with living cells, that they say could act as stretchy scaffolds for repairing damaged muscles and tendons. The coils are made from hundreds of thousands of biocompatible nanofibers, tightly twisted into coils resembling miniature nautical rope, or yarn.

The researchers coated the yarn with living cells, including muscle and mesenchymal stem cells, which naturally grow and align along the yarn, into patterns similar to muscle tissue. The researchers found the yarn's coiled configuration helps to keep cells alive and growing, even as the team stretched and bent the yarn multiple times.

Future - Researchers - Doctors - Line - Patients

In the future, the researchers envision doctors could line patients' damaged tendons and muscles with this new flexible material, which would be coated with the same cells that make up the injured tissue. The "yarn's" stretchiness could help maintain a patient's range of motion while new cells continue to grow to replace the injured tissue.

"When you repair muscle or tendon, you really have to fix their movement for a period of time, by wearing a boot, for example," says Ming Guo, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. "With this nanofiber yarn, the hope is, you won't have to wearing anything like that."

Guo - Colleagues - Results - Week - Proceedings

Guo and his colleagues published their results this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His MIT co-authors are Yiwei Li, Yukun Hao,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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