University of Oxford researchers have developed a technique to 3D print neural cells resembling the cerebral cortex’s architecture. Published in Nature Communications, this development has potential implications for brain injury repairs. Brain injuries, often due to trauma, stroke, or surgery, impact the cerebral cortex and thus influence cognition, movement, and communication. Approximately 70 million people face traumatic brain injury (TBI) yearly, with no prevailing effective treatments for severe cases.
The team used human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to create a two-layered brain tissue. These hiPSCs were turned into neural progenitor cells for the cerebral cortex using specific growth factors and chemicals, which were then made into two bioinks for 3D printing. Once printed, the tissues retained their structure for weeks. When implanted into mouse brain slices, these tissues showed impressive structural and functional integration.
“Human brain development is a delicate and elaborate process with a complex choreography,” said Said Professor Zoltán Molnár.
“It would be naïve to think that we can recreate the entire cellular progression in the laboratory. Nonetheless, our 3D printing project demonstrates substantial progress in controlling the fates and arrangements of human iPSCs to form the basic functional units of the cerebral cortex.’
By further refining the printing method, the researchers aim to produce more intricate multi-layered cerebral cortex tissues. In addition to potential brain injury repairs, these could assist in drug evaluations, brain development studies, and enhancing cognition comprehension.
Come and let us know your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages, and don’t forget to sign up for our weekly additive manufacturing newsletter to get all the latest stories delivered right to your inbox.