New microfluidic chip to replace muscle-nerve connections

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    MIT engineers have created a microfluidic device that is able to precisely imitate the neuromuscular junction, which is a crucial connection where nerves and muscles come together as one. The device is the size of a quarter and is made up of a single muscle strip and a tiny set of motor neurons. Researchers are able to influence the interactions, viewing them within a realistic and three dimensional matrix.
    Researchers genetically modified neurons within the device in order to respond to light. They were able to precisely stimulate cells by shining light directly on the inside neurons which lead to signals being sent that excite the muscle fiber. Researchers measured the force exerted by the muscles within the device through a series of twitches and contracts that the device responds to.
    The complete results may help scientists to better understand and identify drugs in order to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (called ALS), which is most commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease, and a long list of other neuromuscular-related conditions.

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