Medical Research Council - Clinical Services Centre

Mush-more-room
31 August 2016

Mush-more-room

Tissue engineers design tiny structures to support microscopic life, often finding inspiration in unlikely places. These artificial fibres borrow an idea from mushrooms to help heal human bones. Crowded under the caps of mushrooms, gills create a large surface area for producing seed-like spores. Similarly, the gills running down though these fibres create space for human cells growing inside. One thousand times smaller than those on a button mushroom, these gills have another useful trick – creating currents in liquid pumped into the fibres. Turbulent currents create stresses similar to those our bones feel every day – enough to encourage stem cells lining the gills to begin transforming into early bone cells. Gilled fibres have a promising future as tiny scaffolds in bone engineering, and highlight the power of biomimicry in reusing nature’s ideas to benefit other forms of life.

Written by John Ankers

Published in Acta Biomaterialia, May 2016
  • Image from work by Stephen Tuina, Behnam Pourdeyhimib and Elizabeth Loboa
  • Joint Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and University of NC at Chapel Hill; The Nonwovens Institute at NC State University; Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State University, NC, USA
  • Image copyright Elsevier 2016
  • Published in Acta Biomaterialia, May 2016

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