Stretchable probe measures brain chemicals central to Parkinson’s, depression, and gut disease

Researchers have demonstrated the benefits of flexible and elastic NeuroString technology through the search thread of a mouse. Credit: Zhenan Bao lab

Imbalances in brain chemicals are the root cause of many neurological disorders. These same chemicals also play a role in intestinal health. So, scientists at Stanford have invented the “NeuroString” – a soft tissue that can be implanted that can interact seamlessly with both brain and tissue. They described the study in a paper published June 2, 2022 in Nature. It has potential applications in stomach, Parkinson’s disease, and intestinal diseases.

Jinxing Li, the newspaper’s first author, states: “The way people try to understand the brain is by reading and recording electrical signals. “But chemical signals play an important role in brain communication, and are directly related to diseases.” Li started his career and worked as a graduate of the Zhenan Bao Laboratory at Stanford Department of Chemical Engineering; he is now an assistant professor of biology at Michigan State University.

NeuroString steps dopamine same to you serotoninmessengers of two chemical compounds electronic signal in the neurons. Dopamine is best known for its role in the brain reward system; serotonin is the target of antidepressants like Prozac. Both are involved in movement, sleep, eating, and digestion.

The bases that measure dopamine and serotonin already exist, but they are made of carbon rods locked in a glass tube. “These are very difficult investigations. They are very weak,” Li said. Not only can the implanted material break down, it also damages the tissue in the brain, which can cause inflammation. Brain cells and lowering the implant.

Bao Lab has developed a comprehensive research tool. “The organization has long been producing low-cost soft-touch electronics,” said Bao, KK Lee professor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford School of Engineering. Searched from graphene, a form of carbon that emits atomically. Bao’s team used a laser to draw what Li described as “protective graphene hair” into rubber. The plastic contains bacteria that turn into nanoparticle droplets on top of graphene that can enhance sensitivity and selection for measuring dopamine and serotonin at the same time. The researchers placed the network in a rubber matrix.

“Graphene itself does not stretch very well but if it is stuck as a net and placed in a rubber band, it becomes very flexible,” Li said.

Bao added, “It’s like kirigami. If you cut a piece of paper inside and you can stretch it, you see a kind of network of deep paper. It’s the same thing here, but the network is made of paint. graphene. ” NeuroString has the same softness as the natural tissue. “The sensor is soft and supple, like a rubber band, which does not cause damage when implanted in the brain or intestines, which is not only soft but also moves frequently,” he said. Bao.

To test the findings, the Bao team collaborated with Stanford scientists from biology, psychiatry, gastroenterology, and surgery. “I think this is Stanford’s greatest privilege: It’s obvious and it’s collaborative,” Li said.

In one experiment, the group implanted NeuroString in the brain and intestine of the same mice. When they fed chocolate mice syrup, NeuroString detected dopamine spikes in the brain and serotonin spikes in the gut — both expected responses to chocolate. Dopamine is produced in the brain, while most serotonin is produced in the intestine. In one experiment, NeuroString found different serotonin receptors in mice with inflammatory bowel disease compared to healthy mice.

“The first time we saw a signal from a study was during eureka,” said author Xiaoke Chen, an assistant professor of biology. “Regular recording of dopamine and serotonin signals in free-moving animals is a dream test that we have always wanted to do. And with this wonderful collaboration, we have been able to do just that.”

Planted rats behaved and ate frequently and had intestinal motility. “The interesting thing about the equipment is that it does not seem to disrupt normal meat function,” said author Aida Habtezion, a professor of medicine. That means it could one day be used for real-time monitoring in humans, like a smartwatch, but it could follow chemical measures rather than heart rate or steps, she said. Habtezion is currently on vacation and working as Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer, but contributed to the project while at Stanford.

Tracking levels of serotonin in the gut can be helpful in diagnosing and treating intestinal disorders such as constipation. Following dopamine levels in the brain can be beneficial in Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by a lack of dopamine. One of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease, deepening of the brain, Works in part by stimulating neurons to produce more dopamine. If neurotransmitters can be combined with NeuroString, this will allow doctors to control the amount of dopamine released correctly.

The root is not yet ready for clinical use. For one thing, the study still includes phones that read the signal; a wireless version will be required for use in humans. Currently, research has many uses in research. For example, antidepressants like Prozac work by regulating serotonin levels, which may explain why they sometimes cause side effects, Chen said. “We now have the tools to allow real-time monitoring of the effects of those drugs on serotonin changes in the brain and gut in mice.”

He added, “Now that we have shown that the study is working, there is a long list of questions that we want to address.”

Abnormal activity of the cerebral cortex results in anorexia in the animal model

Learn more:
Jinxing Li et al, A tissue-like neurotransmitter sensor for the brain and gut, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-04615-2

hint: A randomized study measuring central nervous system for Parkinson’s, anxiety, and gut disease (2022, June 1) Retrieved 1 June 2022 from stretchable-probe-brain-chemicals-central. html

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