Institute of Fundamental Technological Research
Polish Academy of Sciences


Roberto Fiorelli

Recent publications
1.  Rinoldi C., Ziai Y., Zargarian Seyed S., Nakielski P., Zembrzycki K., Haghighat Bayan Mohammad A., Zakrzewska A., Fiorelli R., Lanzi M., Kostrzewska-Księżyk A., Czajkowski R., Kublik E., Kaczmarek L., Pierini F., In Vivo Chronic Brain Cortex Signal Recording Based on a Soft Conductive Hydrogel Biointerface, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, ISSN: 1944-8244, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c17025, Vol.15, No.5, pp.6283-6296, 2023

In neuroscience, the acquisition of neural signals from the brain cortex is crucial to analyze brain processes, detect neurological disorders, and offer therapeutic brain–computer interfaces. The design of neural interfaces conformable to the brain tissue is one of today’s major challenges since the insufficient biocompatibility of those systems provokes a fibrotic encapsulation response, leading to an inaccurate signal recording and tissue damage precluding long-term/permanent implants. The design and production of a novel soft neural biointerface made of polyacrylamide hydrogels loaded with plasmonic silver nanocubes are reported herein. Hydrogels are surrounded by a silicon-based template as a supporting element for guaranteeing an intimate neural-hydrogel contact while making possible stable recordings from specific sites in the brain cortex. The nanostructured hydrogels show superior electroconductivity while mimicking the mechanical characteristics of the brain tissue. Furthermore, in vitro biological tests performed by culturing neural progenitor cells demonstrate the biocompatibility of hydrogels along with neuronal differentiation. In vivo chronic neuroinflammation tests on a mouse model show no adverse immune response toward the nanostructured hydrogel-based neural interface. Additionally, electrocorticography acquisitions indicate that the proposed platform permits long-term efficient recordings of neural signals, revealing the suitability of the system as a chronic neural biointerface.

brain−machine interface,conductive hydrogels,nanostructured biomaterials,in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility,long-term neural recording

Rinoldi C. - IPPT PAN
Ziai Y. - IPPT PAN
Zargarian Seyed S. - IPPT PAN
Nakielski P. - IPPT PAN
Zembrzycki K. - IPPT PAN
Haghighat Bayan Mohammad A. - IPPT PAN
Zakrzewska A. - IPPT PAN
Fiorelli R. - IPPT PAN
Lanzi M. - University of Bologna (IT)
Kostrzewska-Księżyk A. - other affiliation
Czajkowski R. - other affiliation
Kublik E. - other affiliation
Kaczmarek L. - other affiliation
Pierini F. - IPPT PAN
2.  Rinoldi C., Lanzi M., Fiorelli R., Nakielski P., Zembrzycki K., Kowalewski T., Urbanek O., Jezierska-Woźniak K., Maksymowicz W., Camposeo A., Bilewicz R., Pisignano D., Sanai N., Pierini F., Pierini F., Three-dimensional printable conductive semi-interpenetrating polymer network hydrogel for neural tissue applications, BIOMACROMOLECULES, ISSN: 1525-7797, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c00524, Vol.22, No.7, pp.3084-3098, 2021

Intrinsically conducting polymers (ICPs) are widely used to fabricate biomaterials; their application in neural tissue engineering, however, is severely limited because of their hydrophobicity and insufficient mechanical properties. For these reasons, soft conductive polymer hydrogels (CPHs) are recently developed, resulting in a water-based system with tissue-like mechanical, biological, and electrical properties. The strategy of incorporating ICPs as a conductive component into CPHs is recently explored by synthesizing the hydrogel around ICP chains, thus forming a semi-interpenetrating polymer network (semi-IPN). In this work, a novel conductive semi-IPN hydrogel is designed and synthesized. The hybrid hydrogel is based on a poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N-isopropylmethacrylamide) hydrogel where polythiophene is introduced as an ICP to provide the system with good electrical properties. The fabrication of the hybrid hydrogel in an aqueous medium is made possible by modifying and synthesizing the monomers of polythiophene to ensure water solubility. The morphological, chemical, thermal, electrical, electrochemical, and mechanical properties of semi-IPNs were fully investigated. Additionally, the biological response of neural progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells in contact with the conductive semi-IPN was evaluated in terms of neural differentiation and proliferation. Lastly, the potential of the hydrogel solution as a 3D printing ink was evaluated through the 3D laser printing method. The presented results revealed that the proposed 3D printable conductive semi-IPN system is a good candidate as a scaffold for neural tissue applications.

Rinoldi C. - IPPT PAN
Lanzi M. - University of Bologna (IT)
Fiorelli R. - other affiliation
Nakielski P. - IPPT PAN
Zembrzycki K. - IPPT PAN
Kowalewski T. - IPPT PAN
Grippo V. - other affiliation
Urbanek O. - IPPT PAN
Jezierska-Woźniak K. - other affiliation
Maksymowicz W. - University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (PL)
Camposeo A. - other affiliation
Bilewicz R. - other affiliation
Pisignano D. - other affiliation
Sanai N. - other affiliation
Pierini F. - IPPT PAN

Conference abstracts
1.  Rinoldi C., Lanzi M., Fiorelli R., Nakielski P., Zembrzycki K., Kowalewski T.A., Urbanek O., Grippo V., Jezierska-Woźniak K., Maksymowicz W., Camposeo A., Bilewicz R., Pisignano D., Sanai N., Pierini F., Conductive interpenetrating polymer network hydrogel for neural tissue engineering and 3D printing applications, ESB 2021, 31st Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials, 2021-09-05/09-09, Porto (PT), No.PS02-07-224, pp.1691-1692, 2021

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