A team of researchers from Boise State University have conducted a study that focuses on demonstrating the suitability of graphene foam (3D version of graphene) as a scaffold for growing functional muscle tissue. In the future, researchers hope that the unique properties of graphene and graphene foam can be used to regenerate 3-dimensional tissues and organs for implantation into the human body.
According to the team, the study demonstrated that extra cellular matrix proteins on graphene foam can enhance the differentiation of pluripotent C2C12 myoblasts,and in addition it was possible to verify muscle functionality by using the graphene foam itself as an electrode to stimulate the tissue.
The extracellular matrix consists of molecules secreted by cells within the connective tissues and organs of the body. Differentiation of pluripotent cells in response to their local environment is an area of intense research effort, and one that can make a significant impact to biomedical research and the treatment of connective tissue diseases through a regenerative medicine approach.
Developing new bioscaffolds for tissue engineering, particular 3D scaffolds, will help advance the understanding of stem cell behavior in three-dimensional microenvironments. Such understanding could allow engineers and scientists to control the 3-dimensional growth and differentiation of stem cells in order to engineer biological systems.