Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a new biomaterial at the preclinical level for the treatment and rehabilitation of muscle injuries. This is stated in an article published in the journal Materials Science & Engineering.
The boron-laden alginate hydrogel developed by the researchers can be injected subcutaneously. According to tests carried out on animals, the hydrogel is able to regenerate damaged muscle very quickly, in particular, in half the time required for its natural regeneration. The invention can also be applied to the prevention and treatment of aging-related muscular atrophy.
The main advantage of this biomaterial is boron release. When released, it stimulates integrins, proteins that are present in all cells of the body and play a fundamental role in the adhesion of cells to the extracellular matrix, which promotes proper tissue formation.
According to scientists, the simultaneous stimulation of integrins that bind fibronectin and boron ion transporter (NaBC1) significantly improves muscle regeneration at the anatomical level. This is because it induces more and larger adhesions in undifferentiated muscle cells that are involved in muscle regeneration after injury. This leads to the formation of differentiated muscle tubes, which are necessary for the proper creation of new regenerating muscle fibers.
“In tests we conducted in our laboratories after acute cardiotoxin (cobra snake venom) trauma in mice, NaBC1 activation accelerated muscle regeneration. We confirmed this by adding boron to damaged muscle cells, their adhesion level increased, and now they stick together faster and more reliably, allowing muscles to regenerate in a shorter period of time, ”says Dr. Patricia Rico, researcher at the Center for Biomaterials and Tissues. Developed by the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
This work offers a simple and novel way to achieve muscle regeneration through interactions between specific receptors on the cell membrane. “If, for example, it takes 30 days for a second degree fibrillar rupture to heal, using our hydrogel reduces the recovery time to 15 days,” adds Patricia Rico.
Dr. Rico’s team is currently investigating the use of this new biomaterial to treat muscular dystrophies such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare inherited disorder that affects 1 in 100,000 children.