Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute managed to создать fully working artificial neuron
based on organic bioelectronics. In it there is no "live" parts, but he is able to simulate the brain and nerve cells to communicate with other neurons.
Neuron - specialized cells of the central nervous system. They form a neural network, in which cells communicate with each other by means of signals. The signals emitted by the cells and spread by means of ions, generating electrical charge that moves through the body of the neuron. The charge goes along the axon (long process), comes to the end, where the synapse is converted into a chemical signal transmitters - neurotransmitters (or neurotransmitters).
Neurotransmitters - a biologically active chemical substances that transmit nerve impulses from cell through synaptic space between neurons, as well as, for example, from neurons to muscle tissue.
Until recently, the activity of neurons in the simulation was carried out solely by supplying electrical signals. But now Swedish scientists have created bioelektronnoe device that can receive and recognize the chemical signals, which it can then transfer to human cells.
"Our artificial neuron is made of conductive polymers and is working as a human - said lead researcher Agneta Richter-Dalfors, professor of cellular microbiology. - Sensitive components of artificial neuron "feel" changes in the chemical signals and translates them into electrical. A second step is converted into an electrical signal neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which may already influence on living cells ».
While the device has not reached the size of the neuron. Just next goal will be his researchers miniaturization, after which it will be possible implantation in the human body. Thus, it will be possible to fight against various diseases associated with disorders of the nervous system.
It will be possible to stimulate the neurons by chemical signals received from various parts of the body. In the future it will help to even get around a site with damaged nerve cells to restore their function.