Medical breakthrough: scientists create brain tissue with neurons using 3D printing (video)

Researchers from the University of Madison have printed functional human brain tissue using 3D printing for the first time, according to the university’s website. Here’s why it’s important.

A team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed the first 3D-printed brain tissue that can grow and function like typical brain tissue. Instead of using the traditional approach to 3D printing, which involves the vertical layering of layers, the researchers went horizontal.

They placed the brain cells, neurons grown from induced pluripotent stem cells, in a softer bio-ink gel than in previous attempts. The tissue remains relatively thin, and this allows the neurons to easily get enough oxygen and nutrients from the growing medium, scientists say.

Neurons communicate, send signals, interact with each other through neurotransmitters, and even form appropriate networks with auxiliary cells that have been added to the printed tissue.

This achievement is important for scientists studying the brain and working on treatments for a wide range of neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The discovery is expected to help understand how cells and parts of the brain interact in humans.

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