China has developed a hydrogel based on polyaniline and polyacrylamide, capable of conducting electrical impulses and healing damaged peripheral nerves. An article on the hydrogel for nerve repair appeared in the ACS Nano.
If the peripheral nerve has been completely cut as a result of a serious injury (e.g. a deep cut), it can lead to neurological disorders, paralysis and disability. Sometimes the nerves are regenerated by transplanting a nerve fragment from another part of the body, but this operation is not always effective. There are artificial grafts for nerve repair, but there are also a number of difficulties with their use.
Employees of Nanjing University have developed a new remedy for damaged nerves recovery – hydrogel, capable of conducting electrical signals. The hydrogel is a three-dimensional microporous network, to which nerve cells are attached, forming new nerve bonds.
Experiments on frogs and rats have shown that the development of Chinese scientists is very effective – hydrogel well conducted bioelectric impulses through the damaged sciatic nerve. Now the researchers will have to test their hydrogel on humans.