This article is part of the Research Topic Towards longterm neuro-implants


Front. Neuroeng., 08 February 2010 | doi: 10.3389/neuro.16.018.2009

Bridging the divide between neuroprosthetic design, tissue engineering and neurobiology

Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA
Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Neuroprosthetic devices have made a major impact in the treatment of a variety of disorders such as paralysis and stroke. However, a major impediment in the advancement of this technology is the challenge of maintaining device performance during chronic implantation (months to years) due to complex intrinsic host responses such as gliosis or glial scarring. The objective of this review is to bring together research communities in neurobiology, tissue engineering, and neuroprosthetics to address the major obstacles encountered in the translation of neuroprosthetics technology into long-term clinical use. This article draws connections between specific challenges faced by current neuroprosthetics technology and recent advances in the areas of nerve tissue engineering and neurobiology. Within the context of the device–nervous system interface and central nervous system implants, areas of synergistic opportunity are discussed, including platforms to present cells with multiple cues, controlled delivery of bioactive factors, three-dimensional constructs and in vitro models of gliosis and brain injury, nerve regeneration strategies, and neural stem/progenitor cell biology. Finally, recent insights gained from the fields of developmental neurobiology and cancer biology are discussed as examples of exciting new biological knowledge that may provide fresh inspiration toward novel technologies to address the complexities associated with long-term neuroprosthetic device performance.
neuroprosthetic, gliosis, nerve regeneration, signal degradation, Utah electrode, drug delivery, neural progenitor, neural probes
Leach JB, Achyuta AKH and Murthy SK (2010). Bridging the divide between neuroprosthetic design, tissue engineering and neurobiology. Front. Neuroeng. 2:18. doi: 10.3389/neuro.16.018.2009
30 September 2009;
 Paper pending published:
27 October 2009;
28 December 2009;
 Published online:
08 February 2010.

Edited by:

Martin Stelzle, University of Tuebingen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Burkhard Schlosshauer, Natural and Medical Institute at the University of Tuebingen, Germany
Alexander Dityatev, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
Michela Chiappalone, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
© 2010 Leach, Achyuta and Murthy. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
Jennie B. Leach, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA. e-mail:
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