From an article by Liam Critchley at AZonano.com:

The design of nanostructured scaffolds has gathered a significant amount of interest over the last few years in nanomedicine and tissue engineering fields. Within the design of such scaffolds, the materials undergoing a serious amount of research are hydrogels, as they can produce realistic tissue constructs resembling living tissues.

A team of Researchers from Spain and Italy have now created a new series of 3D hydrogel scaffolds for neuronal growth using a combination of aqueous graphene dispersions and acrylamide synthesized by in situ radical polymerization.

One area in which the design of new scaffolds in tissue engineering research has focused on is in the adaptation of the micro-environment of 3D tissue-scaffolds in order to regulate neural cell adhesion or tissue growth in neurological applications. 3D scaffolds have been designed to incorporate essential features for implantable prosthesis, such as optimizing the biocompatibility, stability and homogeneity at the microscale, conductivity and controlled mechanical properties.

Whilst acrylamide hydrogels have been synthesized previously for scaffold applications, they have commonly suffered with biocompatibility issues–the most important property for implantable scaffolds. To combat this the Researchers have created a series of graphene-polyacrylamide hydrogels which support the growth of living primary neurons.

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