Today I want to present you the work done by the Mexican engineer Rodrigo lozano, a current doctoral student at the University of Wollongong (Australia) who has managed to design and manufacture by means of 3D printing nothing less than a mini-brain in which to study the behavior of the neurons of certain brain diseases or of people who are drug users.
To carry out the first experiments on this complicated project, the engineer apparently decided create a miniature brain model using 3D printing and design technologies. On it, mouse neurons were placed on different layers of the model which managed to survive for ten days carrying out all their communication processes and apparently not suffering any damage.
They create a miniature brain where neurons can live up to 10 days doing all their natural functions.
As explained by the own Rodrigo lozano:
Immature cortical neurons from embryonic mice are encapsulated in a polymer hydrogel called gellan gua, which is of natural origin and allows to create a suspension of cells called 'bio-ink'
Regarding the material in which we were previously told, it should be noted that this is from low cost y biocompatible with the human body since it is porous enough to allow nutrients and waste materials created by the cells themselves to pass into it. In turn, this material has the property that it solidifies efficiently at room temperature while presenting the facility that it can be chemically modified with peptides such as the so-called RGD.
As a final detail, comment that thanks to the base structure of this mini brain and the use of this new hydrogel neurons were able to grow and extend their connections to hundreds of microns. Thanks to this, after ten days from the beginning of the experiment, it was found that the structure had the same characteristics in mature cortical cells and even that the neurons had managed to form layered structures similar to the cerebral cortex.