Brain-on-a-chip axonal strain injury model highlights mitochondrial membrane potential threshold

Jul 17, 2014

Researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Department of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey recently demonstrated the use of their "Brain-on-a-Chip" microsystem to assess specific effects of traumatic axonal injury. While their model uses the three dimensional cell structure and networks found in intact animals, it is capable of visualizing individual axons and their responses to mechanical injury. This is done by utilizing organotypic slices taken from specific areas in the brain that are susceptible to injury during a traumatic brain injury event.

"What's really nice about the system is that it is very versatile, in that specific physiologically relevant pathways or networks can be monitored depending on the orientation of the slices placed in the device, or by which brain slices are used," says Jean-Pierre Doll, Ph.D, lead author. Through the use of very small microchannels, the authors direct the natural response of brain slices to extend axons to connect one brain slice to another. Once the extending axons have traversed the distance and made functional connections between the brain slices, these axons are ready to be selectively injured.

This innovative approach was used to characterize the biochemical changes that are induced following traumatic axonal and highlights an apparent injury threshold that exists in axonal mitochondria. Their research shows that below the injury threshold mitochondria undergo a delayed hyperpolarization, whereas above the threshold they immediately depolarize. Using their system, the authors tested a novel therapeutic candidate, in which they showed that the sodium/hydrogen exchange inhibitor EIPA could significantly reduce the mitochondrial responses to injury resulting in an overall improvement in axonal health.

"Since therapeutic options are currently limited, these results are exciting and highlight the value of our brain-on-a-chip technology that can be used for high-throughput screens of potential agents to ameliorate the consequences of diffuse axonal injury, which often accompanies " says senior author Martin Yarmush MD, Ph.D.

Explore further: Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause brain damage

More information: Additional co-authors of the TECHNOLOGY paper are Rene R. Schloss Ph.D from Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University and Barclay Morrison III Ph.D from Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause brain damage

Jul 16, 2014

Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause brain damage and thinking and memory problems, according to a study published in the July 16, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neu ...

Imaging shows some brains compensate after traumatic injury

Nov 26, 2012

Using a special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to image patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), researchers have identified a biomarker that may predict which patients will do well over the long term, ...

Recommended for you

China web users laud Apple boss for coming out

13 hours ago

Apple chief Tim Cook's announcement of his homosexuality was the top topic on Chinese Internet forums Friday, with many users lauding him as a hero—and some joking about his declaration. ...

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

Oct 30, 2014

High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Free urban data—what's it good for?

Oct 29, 2014

Cities around the world are increasingly making urban data freely available to the public. But is the content or structure of these vast data sets easy to access and of value? A new study of more than 9,000 ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.