New biocompatible hydrogel grows neurons in 3D

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In France, researchers from CNRS, INSERM and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier developed a hydrogel that can grow, develop and differentiate neural stem cells. It is based on N-heptyl-galactonamide, a new molecule synthesized by these scientists, which has many advantages like being biocompatible, consists of a simple structure and can be produced quickly.

This biomaterial could provide new paths for the development of in vitro cellular models of brain tissue or of in vivo tissue reconstruction, according to Phys.org. Because it has very low density and low rigidity, neural stem cells can penetrate and develop in three dimensions in the hydrogel, making it useful for 3D brain tissue models that can be used to test medications.