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Filling me softly
Date:2/12/2014

hanical signals trigger inflammation, the team cultured brain cells on two different substrates. The substrates were chemically identical but one was as soft as brain tissue and the other was two orders of magnitude stiffer, akin to the stiffness of muscle tissue.

When they examined the cells, they found major differences in their shape. "The cells grown on the stiffer substrate were very flat, whereas those grown on the soft substrate looked much more like cells you find in the brain," he explained.

To confirm the findings they did genetic and other tests, which revealed that many of the inflammatory genes and proteins known to be involved in foreign body reactions had been upregulated on stiff surfaces.

The team then implanted a tiny foreign body into rats' brains. The implant was made of a single material but one side was as soft as brain tissue and the other as stiff as muscle. They found much greater foreign body reaction around the stiff part of the implant.

"This strongly indicates that stiffness of a material may trigger foreign body reactions. It does not mean there aren't other triggers, but stiffness definitely contributes and this is something new that hasn't been known before," he said.

The findings could have major implications for the design of implants used in the brain and other parts of the body.

"While it may eventually be possible to make implants out of new, much softer materials, our results suggest that in the short term, simply coating existing implants with materials that match the stiffness of the tissue they are being implanted into will help reduce foreign body reactions," said Dr Franze.


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Contact: Becky Allen
Becky.Allen@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-012-233-32300
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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