Working on the project of an artificial heart, Harvard researchers have created meduzoidy - construction of silicone and rat heart cells that looks and swims like a real jellyfish.
Bioengineers at Harvard University (USA) made of silicone and muscle cells of rat almost real jellyfish. Artificial creation, called meduzoidy, like a flower with eight petals, blades; by passing through an electric charge meduzoidy contracts and moves like a real jellyfish. According to Keith Parker, under whose direction the work was performed, morphologically and functionally is a jellyfish, but the rat genome.
Of course, this was not an end in itself - the team of Mr. Parker has been working on the creation of an artificial heart tissue, and artificial jellyfish born just for this project. The idea of using a jellyfish as a model of the heartbeat was born from the observation of Aurelia aurita (Aurelia aurita), domed jellyfish, which can be found in the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Move it, collapsing body-dome with a layer of muscle cells; discharged water flow pushes forward jellyfish.
To reproduce the outline structure of a jellyfish, the researchers cultured rat heart cells on a layer of polydimethylsiloxane, which is directed and organized cell growth. When the resulting structure was placed in an electric field, reduced muscle cells and elastic silicon substrate is stretched muscle layer back. Placed in the water between two electrodes meduzoidy moved like a real jellyfish - not only externally but also on the hydrodynamic characteristics of the flow of water, which he aroused. But, of course, this jellyfish can not call it: feed yourself, not to mention the fact that multiply meduzoidy can not.
The results of the researchers published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
So far, according to them, the scientists paid attention almost exclusively on genes: how and which genes are introduced into a cell, so that she has acquired the necessary properties. But is it possible to go beyond the cellular level to create ready bodies? To do this, we have to consider the morphology and function much more complex cellular education. Although meduzoidy very far from the heart, as it decreases, in general resemble the heart muscle. Perhaps it is such designs will revolutionize regenerative medicine, becoming a bridge between the cultivation of tissues and organs ready.