Carbon nanotubes found safe for reconnecting damaged neurons

Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) could safely help repair damaged connections between neurons by serving as supporting scaffolds for growth or as connections between neurons. That’s the conclusion of an in-vitro (lab) open-access study with cultured neurons (taken from the hippcampus of neonatal rats).
The study addressed whether MWCNTs that are interfaced to neurons affect synaptic transmission by modifying the lipid (fatty) cholesterol structure in artificial neural membranes.
Significantly, they found that MWCNTs:
Facilitate the full growth of neurons and the formation of new synapses. “This growth, however, is not indiscriminate and unlimited since, as we proved, after a few weeks, a physiological balance is attained.”
Do not interfere with the composition of lipids (cholesterol in particular), which make up the cellular membrane in neurons.
Do not interfere in the transmission of signals through synapses.
The researchers also noted that they recently reported (in an open access paper) low tissue reaction when multiwall carbon nanotubes were implanted in vivo (in live animals) to reconnect damaged spinal neurons.
The researchers say they proved that carbon nanotubes “perform excellently in terms of duration, adaptability and mechanical compatibility with tissue” and that “now we know that their interaction with biological material, too, is efficient. Based on this evidence, we are already studying an in vivo application, and preliminary results appear to be quite promising in terms of recovery of lost neurological functions.”
The research team comprised scientists from SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies), the University of Trieste, ELETTRA Sincrotrone, and two Spanish institutions, Basque Foundation for Science and CIC BiomaGUNE.