16 February 2014
Our gateway to the visual world is a thin layer of cells that lies within our eyes, called the retina. It contains cells that convert light rays into electrical signals so that our brain can make sense of what we see. But if retinal cells are damaged, vision can be lost. Researchers have used the fine nozzle of an inkjet printer to ‘print’ two types of rat cells; retinal ganglion cells, which send light information from the eye to the brain, and glial cells, which support and protect retinal cells. These high-speed camera images show a droplet containing a ganglion cell (coloured blue) being released from the jet nozzle. The printing process allowed the researchers to make layers of precisely arranged cells, similar to how the retina is normally organised. In future, this technology could use healthy cells to make entire retinal tissue and restore sight to the blind eye.
Written by Gaëlle Coullon
Image courtesy of Barbara Lorber, Wen-Kai Hsiao and colleagues
University of Cambridge
Originally published under a Creative Commons licence (BY 3.0)
Research published in Biofabrication, December 2013