University of Alberta researchers have developed a method of connecting neurons using ultrashort laser pulses. The technique gives researchers complete control over the cell connection process and could lead to new research and treatment methods, including physical reattachment of severed neurons right after injury, the researchers say.
Neuronal injury may cause an irreversible damage to cellular, organ and organism function. While preventing neural injury is ideal, it is not always possible. There are multiple etiologies for neuronal injury including trauma, infection, inflammation, immune mediated disorders, toxins and hereditary conditions. We describe a novel laser application, utilizing femtosecond laser pulses, in order to connect neuronal axon to neuronal soma. We were able to maintain cellular viability, and demonstrate that this technique is universal as it is applicable to multiple cell types and media.