December 9, 2021
On the decellularization of organs to produce tissue-specific extracellular matrices for tissue engineering
Decellularization is a process that removes cellular components from organs, leaving behind the extracellular matrix (ECM). This ECM, composed of proteins, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins, serves as a natural scaffold for tissue engineering applications. Decellularization can be achieved through chemical, physical, or biological methods. The resulting decellularized ECM, known as dECM, can be utilized to create hydrogels, bioinks, or coatings for enhancing cell adhesion and tissue regeneration.
October 25, 2021
Towards a standard method for mechanically characterizing soft organs
In October, our focus was on the mechanical characterization of soft organs. Understanding the mechanical properties of tissues is crucial for advancements in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, measuring the mechanical properties of soft tissues is not straightforward and often involves customized approaches. Standardized and reproducible methods are needed to accurately characterize the mechanical properties of soft organs. By establishing consistent measurement techniques, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of tissue mechanics and develop effective treatments and therapies.
October 7, 2021
Viscoelastic properties of porcine and sheep soft organs
The emerging field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have the noble goal to develop lab-grown human tissues or alternative biomaterials to assist in their self-healing. In order to be functional in the human body, these biomaterials need to meet specific requirements of the intended site of implantation both in terms of biological, biochemical, and physical properties.
October 6, 2021
Measuring the viscoelastic properties of lungs through complementary techniques
Mechanical testing of soft tissues and organs is crucial for biomaterial development. A study from the University of Massachusetts compared different testing techniques and evaluated the impact of sample freezing on lung tissue. The findings highlighted variations in mechanical properties depending on the technique used and showed a slight difference between fresh and frozen samples. Standardized testing methods are necessary for reliable measurements and advancements in tissue engineering.
July 8, 2021
Bone regeneration enhanced by using a viscoelastic hydrogel
In a recent study, researchers from the University of California at Davis investigated the impact of the viscoelasticity of the cell's environment on bone formation by mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). They prepared alginate hydrogels with different mechanical properties and loaded them with MSC aggregates. The results showed that while both hydrogels supported high cell viability, the viscoelastic hydrogel promoted significantly higher calcium production by the cells compared to the elastic hydrogel. Calcium is an essential component for bone regeneration. These findings emphasize the importance of the cell's external environment, specifically its viscoelastic properties, in influencing cellular behavior and tissue regeneration.
June 7, 2021
Teens’ Tendency To Take Risks Exposed By Their Brain’s Viscoelasticity
A research study conducted by the University of Delaware explored whether the physiological differences in the maturation of specific brain regions could explain the increased risk-taking tendencies during adolescence. The study, titled "Viscoelasticity of reward and control systems in adolescent risk-taking" and published in the Neuroimage Journal, proposed that risk-taking behaviors are influenced by two opposing brain systems: the reward system (socioemotional system) and the cognitive control system, responsible for regulating impulsive responses. Due to the chronological development of these systems, an imbalance may occur, potentially making adolescents more prone to engaging in risky activities.
April 26, 2021
Why is viscoelasticity so important in the human body?
Scars, which result from the wound healing process, exhibit differences in viscoelasticity compared to surrounding tissues. While skin scars may primarily affect aesthetics, scars in internal tissues and organs can impact their function. For example, scar formation in the heart muscle after a heart attack can lead to decreased muscular power and potential heart failure. It is important to note that viscoelastic behavior is inherent in all components of the body, and it plays a role in their physiological function. Cells, tissues, and organs exhibit both viscous (fluid-like) and elastic (solid-like) responses when subjected to mechanical forces. This viscoelastic response allows for deformation under force and gradual return to the original state once the force is removed.
April 12, 2021
When mechanical testing slows down the development of bioengineered vascular grafts
Blood vessels play a vital role in the circulation of blood throughout the body, working in conjunction with the heart. Their mechanical behavior, characterized by viscoelastic properties, is crucial for efficient blood flow. Understanding and characterizing the mechanical properties of blood vessels is essential, particularly in the development of vascular grafts. A team of researchers from Laval University, led by Prof. Diego Mantovani, recently published a review article discussing the significance of proper mechanical characterization and summarizing the existing methods in the field.