Bioengineers at Lund University in Sweden have been able to use a special gel to grow an electrical network inside living cells – in the future, this technology can replace the implantation of electronics in the body to treat neurodegenerative diseases and create a brain-computer interface. The results of the research scientists were published in the journal Science.
To do this, the authors of the work developed a hydrogel containing enzymes that, when in contact with endogenous (substances that are formed in the body, tissue or cell during life, and do not come from outside) chemicals of a living organism, make the gel electrically conductive.
In the experiment, scientists used zebrafish – the authors managed to form electrodes in the brain, heart and tail fins of the fish. The researchers also formed electrodes around the nervous tissue of medicinal leeches. The material did not cause an immune reaction and did not affect the normal functioning of the body. In future work, the researchers plan to improve the technology, as well as conduct experiments involving humans.