Novel Graphene-Infused Mesh May Help Repair Rotator Cuff Injuries

Sep, 2022 - By WMR

Novel Graphene-Infused Mesh May Help Repair Rotator Cuff Injuries

Scientists identified a new method for regenerating muscle that may aid in repairing the damaged shoulders in numerous people with the use of new experimental graphene-infused mesh

When a rotator cuff gets torn or injured it becomes debilitating and once this injury takes place there are higher chances that it will occur again. In a new study conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Connecticut, the scientists created a new experimental mesh that may help this recurring injury from happening due to its small graphene pieces.

When a rotator cuff injury occurs, it affects multiple of single tendons connecting shoulder muscles to the humerus head. This tendon can be repaired with surgery in several cases. However, this muscle starts degenerating and accumulating fat. Thus, the team of scientists in this study developed a therapeutic mesh that has to be embedded through surgery in the shoulder muscles that are affected after the injury. The team created an electroconductive mesh that consists aligned nanofibers of poly (l-lactic acid) (PLLA) that are infused with graphene nanoplatelets. PLLA is already in use in various medical applications as it is a biodegradable, biocompatible polymer and graphene has high conductivity consisting one-atom thick sheets that are connected to carbon atoms.

The team tried to grow muscle tissues on the mesh in the lab where it was found to support growth of myotubes which are precursors for muscle fibers and prevented formation of fat. Moreover, when the team placed the mesh in the affected shoulder muscles of rats, it was found that the injured muscles in mice grew back without being replaced by fat. According to the scientists, the graphene nanoplatelets caused these responses as they increased content of intracellular calcium in the myotubes. Moreover, these nanoplatelets reduced adipogenesis in the stem cells used for growing myotubes.

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