Repairing damaged nerves, hydrogel or a helping hand.

Peripheral nerve tissue can transmit bioelectrical signals from the brain to other parts of the body. Peripheral nerve injury usually leads to chronic pain, neurological disorders, paralysis or disability. Now, researchers have developed a stretchable conductive hydrogel that may be used to repair these types of nerve damage in the future. Recently, Professor Shen qundong of Nanjing University and his collaborators published the research results in the Journal of American Chemical Society nano. < / P > < p > peripheral nerve injuries, such as deep incisions caused by accidents, are difficult to treat. A common treatment strategy is called autologous nerve transplantation. It removes a segment of peripheral nerve from other parts of the body and stitches it to both ends of the severed nerve. However, neurologic function may not be restored by the operation, and sometimes multiple follow-up operations are required. Artificial nerve grafts combined with Sertoli cells are also used, but it usually takes a long time for the nerve to recover completely. In this regard, Shen qundong, Professor of Nanjing University, Wang Zhaochun, associate professor of Nanjing Institute of engineering, Zhu Zezhang, chief physician of Nanjing Gulou Hospital, and other scholars have tried to develop an effective and rapid therapeutic method to replace autologous nerve transplantation. They decided to explore conductive hydrogel, a biocompatible polymer that can transmit electrical signals to water. The

team developed a tough but stretchable conductive hydrogel containing polyaniline and polyacrylamide. The cross-linked polymer has a 3D microporous network. After implantation, the nerve cells can enter the hydrogel and attach to it, thus helping to restore the lost nerve tissue. < / P > < p > the team found that the material could conduct bioelectrical signals through damaged sciatic nerves removed from toads. They then implanted hydrogels into rats with sciatic nerve injury. Two weeks later, the bioelectricity of the nerves was restored. < / P > < p > “compared with untreated mice, the walking ability of experimental mice was improved. The conductivity of this material can be improved by near-infrared light, which can penetrate biological tissues, so this way can further enhance nerve signal transmission and recovery Shen qundong said.