Regrowing knee cartilage with an electric kick

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UConn bioengineers report in the January 12 issue that it is a promising hop for the normal regeneration of cartilage in rabbit knees and healing of human joints. Scientific translation medicine..

Arthritis is a common and painful illness caused by joint damage.Normal pad cartilage Cushion those spots. But injuries and age can wear it down. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bone begins to hit the bone and Daily activities It hurts like walking.

The best treatment available is to replace the damaged cartilage with a healthy part taken elsewhere in the body or from a donor. However, the supply of healthy cartilage is limited. If it is your own, transplanting it can hurt where it was taken.If it’s from someone else, yours Immune system You may reject it.

The best treatment is to regenerate healthy cartilage in the damaged joint itself. Some researchers have sought to amplify chemical growth factors to induce the body to grow cartilage on its own.Other attempts rely on bioengineering scaffold To give the body a fresh tissue template. However, neither of these approaches works in combination.

“Regrown cartilage does not behave like natural cartilage. It breaks under the normal stress of joints,” says Thanh Nguyen, a bioengineer at UConn.

Rabbits bounce along the treadmill, stimulating the piezoelectric charge on the bioengineered knee. The charge promotes the regeneration of fresh, mechanically tough cartilage, making it as strong and functional as it was before the knee was injured. Credits: Thanh Nguyen / University of Connecticut and UConn Health

Nguyen’s lab is also working on cartilage regeneration, and they discovered it. electoronic signals It’s the key to normal growth. They designed a tissue scaffold made of polylactic acid (PLLA) nanofibers. It is a biodegradable polymer often used to stitch surgical wounds together. Nanomaterials have a decent property called piezoelectricity. When it is throttled, it produces a small burst of current. Regular movements of joints, such as walkers, can create a weak but stable electric field in the PLLA scaffold, which can help cells colonize it and grow into cartilage.No external growth factors or Stem cells Needs (potentially toxic or at risk of unwanted adverse events), and decisively, the growing cartilage is mechanically robust.

The team recently tested the knee scaffolding of an injured rabbit. After the scaffold was implanted, the rabbit was able to jump on the treadmill and exercise, and as expected, the cartilage grew normally. “Piezoelectricity is a phenomenon that also exists in the human body. Bone, cartilage, collagen, DNA, and various proteins have a piezoelectric response. Our approach to healing cartilage is clinically highly translational. Yes, we will investigate the related healing mechanism. ” Dr. Yang Liu, a postdoctoral fellow in Nguyen’s group and the lead author of the published work.

The result is exciting, but Nguyen is cautious.

“This is a fascinating result, but we need to test it on larger animals,” says Nguyen, an animal that is close to humans in size and weight. In his lab, he wants to observe animals that have been treated for at least one year, perhaps two years, to make sure that the cartilage is durable. Ideally, the PLLA scaffold should also be tested on older animals. Arthritis is usually an old age illness in humans. Young animals heal more easily than older animals. If piezoelectric scaffolding also helps in the healing of older animals, it could really be a breakthrough in biotechnology.

The power of stem cells used to make cartilage tissue

For more information:
Exercise-induced piezoelectric stimulation for rabbit cartilage regeneration, Scientific translation medicine (2022).

Quote: Regeneration of knee cartilage by electric kick (January 12, 2022) was obtained from on January 12, 2022. it was done.

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