Neurons are cells in the nervous system that are responsible for transferring information between the brain and the rest of the body.
A research team based in the University of Alberta Faculty of Engineering has developed a method of connecting neurons, using ultrashort laser pulses--a breakthrough technique that opens the door to new medical research and treatment opportunities.
The team is the first ever to find a way to bond neurons and in doing so, has given researchers a powerful new tool. The team's findings are published in the flagship scientific journal Nature Scientific Reports.
To conduct the study, two neurons, put in a special solution that prevents them from sticking together, were brought into contact with each other. Femtosecond laser pulses--each ultrashort pulse occurring every 10-15 seconds--were delivered to the meeting point of the two cells. Although the outside layer of the cells was partially compromised, the inside of that protective layer remained intact. As a result, the two cells established solid bonds forming a common membrane at the targeted area.