Silica particles could repair and help engineer human organs
By slathering slivers of calf liver with nanoparticles, researchers can cement the tissue back together.
The researchers, based at the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in Paris, suggest that the particle paste could one day allow doctors to engineer and repair tissues without sutures or staples.
Silica nanoparticles in the biological glue sink into the mesh of polymer chains in gels and spongy tissue. Once the particles settle in, they make new links between the molecular chains.
The researchers glued calf liver pieces together by smearing particles between two slices and squishing them together for 30 seconds, the team reports December 11 in Nature. The applied pressure helped the nanoparticles come in contact with molecular chains in both slices and hook them together, the authors say.
PARTICLE PASTE Silica nanoparticles work as an adhesive by sinking into spongy substances such as liver tissue and linking molecular chains together. Credit: MMC Laboratory/ESPCI/CNRS
S. Rose et al. Nanoparticle solutions as adhesives for gels and biological tissues. Nature. Published online December 11, 2013. doi:10.1038/nature12806.
J. Raloff. Nanopollutants change blood vessel reactivity. Science News. Vol. 181, April 21, 2012, p. 18.