Elastic hydrogel will restore damaged nerves: the scientists found how to get rid of paralysis

New hydrogel will heal damaged nerves

Now, the damaged nerves can be reestablished with an effective elastic conductive electrogel developed by the Chinese scientists. They believe that with the help of a unique elaboration, they can save patients from paralysis. The peripheral nerves are a special tissue that transmits bioelectrical signals from the brain to different parts of the body. Quite often, their damage leads to chronic severe pain or neurological disorders and even to paralysis of the limbs and disability.

The scientists developed a special hydrogel that can be used in reestablishing all types of the nerve damage in the future. It is extremely difficult to treat the injuries when the peripheral nerves are damaged. These injures may occur as a result of deep cuts or accidents.

And in that case, an autologous nerve transplantation is the most common treatment. It removes part of a peripheral nerve from other parts of the body and implants it to the end of the removed one. But despite the complexity of such manipulations, it does not always reestablish the lost functions.

Moreover, such surgeries are often need to be repeated. In other cases, the neurologists use grafts in combination with the supporting cells, but then the recovery takes a long time. The specialists Qun-Dong Shen, Changchun Wang, Chang Zhu were able to develop an effective fast acting treatment that can replace an autologous nerve transplantation.

The researchers decided to use the method of using conductive hydrogels, the biocompatible polymers that are capable of transmitting bioelectric signals. In a prototype of the hydrogel, they combined polyaniline and polyacrylamide. The resulting polymer has a three-dimensional microporous network.

Once implanted, it allows the nerve cells to penetrate and attach, repairing lost nerve tissue. During the experiments, the new material was able to transmit bioelectric signals through the damaged sciatic nerve of the toad that was removed.