Ural Federal University: Scientists Have Created a Material that Accelerates Cell Growth

A team of scientists from Ural Federal University and Saratov State University synthesized chitosan-containing nanoparticles with high biological activity. The resulting nanomaterial accelerates cell growth and can be used in cell replacement therapy and 3D bioprinting of living tissues. The results of the study are published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers.

Nanoscale drugs can improve the therapy of many diseases. Materials based on nanoparticles of chitosan derivatives can stimulate the regeneration of living cells and tissues. This effect appears as a result of synergistic interaction between chitosan and water-acid medium, in which it is dissolved. Scientists suggested using biologically active L-aspartic acid as such a medium.

“The resulting substance, chitosan asparaginate, both in the form of solution and in the form of nanopowder is hemocompatible, i.e., it does not cause destruction of erythrocytes. Adding this substance to cell cultures accelerates their growth and proliferation (proliferation of body tissue by cell division. – Ed.). This can be in demand in medicine, pharmaceuticals, ecology, and agriculture. For example, in medicine – for rapid reproduction and accumulation of patients’ own cells, for substitution therapy or 3D-bioprinting of organ constructs. In toxicology, for testing cosmetics, preservatives and insecticides on cell test systems, as well as for studying the mechanism of action and prognostic analysis of drugs,” says Tatiana Lugovitskaya, associate professor of research at the Department of Non-Ferrous Metals Metallurgy at UrFU.

To date, scientists have conducted studies of chitosan asparaginate in vitro, i.e. outside of a living organism. Now preclinical studies of the nanomaterial on animals are planned.

“There are a lot of plans for research on both chitosan asparaginate and other materials based on it. Now we are testing whether the resulting substance can be used to protect plants from pests and pathogens. We are constantly working to improve the synthesis of chitosan asparaginate nanoparticles in order to obtain particles of given sizes and shapes with certain properties for specific applications. And, of course, under conditions of pandemic, it is important to study virosolide activity of obtained nanoparticles of asparaginate chitosan to fight COVID-19 viruses,” notes Tatiana Lugovitskaya.