Title: Decoupling brain injury from inflammation
Speaker: Prof. David Nisbet
Astrocytes provide essential physiological functions within the brain that also included contributing to the inflammatory response post insult. Whilst their role after brain injury or stroke is clear, their precise contribution to the inflammatory cascade is poorly understood, representing a significant opportunity for therapeutic targeting to promote repair and reconstruction of brain tissue. An in vitro model of the damaged brain where inflammation can be turned on and off, would allow the decoupling of progressive degeneration and inflammation, and ultimately the development of advanced regenerative therapies. Here, we demonstrate the dual functionalities of self-assembled peptide hydrogels in vitro: as a delivery vehicle to enhance the anti-proliferative effects of polysaccharides on inflammatory astrocytes, and as a long-term 3D culture environment. As proof of concept we demonstrate how this programmable tool can be exploited for the in vitro investigation of the inflammatory mechanism of astrocytes.