Scientists could grow cartilage using a magnetic field

We found that we can organize objects, such as cells, so that they can generate

new complex fabrics without the need to changethe cells themselves. Others have had to add magnetic particles to cells to make them respond to the magnetic field, but this approach could have undesirable long-term consequences for cell health. Instead, we manipulated the magnetic nature of the environment that surrounds the cells, which allowed us to arrange things with magnets.

Hannah Zlotnik, pioneer research author and graduate student in bioengineering at the McKay Orthopedic Research Laboratory in Pennsylvania

In humans, tissues such as cartilage can often break down, causing joint instability or pain. Often the destruction does not occur completely, but covers the area, forming a hole.

Treatment now suggests the holes are fillingsynthetic or biological materials that can work but often wear out because they are not the same materials as they used to be. This is similar to how potholes on the road are repaired: they are covered with gravel. In this case, the pit will be smoothed out, but over time such a structure wears out because it is not the same material and it cannot be glued in the same way.

A team of scientists found that when addingmagnetic fluid to a three-dimensional hydrogel solution, cells and other non-magnetic objects, including microcapsules for drug delivery, can organize certain patterns that mimic natural tissue by using an external magnetic field.

After brief contact with a magnetic fieldThe hydrogel solution (and the objects in it) were exposed to ultraviolet light in a process called "photocrosslinking" to fix everything in place. Then the magnetic solution dissipated. Thereafter, the engineered tissues maintained the required cell gradient. Using this magnetic modeling technique, the team was able to recreate the articular cartilage.

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