Researchers from Tufts University have used scaffolding to encourage the development of three-dimensional brain-like tissue that can be used to study brain injuries and genetic disorders. And, ultimately, this could have a big impact on 3D bioprinting.
Brain tissue is the most difficult type of organic matter to create in a lab setting, typically lasting for less than a day before dying; however the new bioengineered brain tissue from researchers at Tufts has remained viable for several weeks and develops complex neuronal activity that mimics living brain tissue. It even organized itself into brain-like structures and created distinct grey and white brain matter, as detailed in their report “Bioengineered functional brain-like cortical tissue”, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
In previous attempts to create lab grown brain matter, a hydrogel was used to encourage tissue growth, but this was limited in size and only developed two-dimensional structures. In order to encourage three-dimensional growth, the Tufts team used a collagen gel and a bio engineered silk protein to create a porous scaffolding structure. This allowed the white brain cell material to fully develop and created a clear distinction between white and grey brain matter, including sending electrical impulses to each other. … (Read more)