Blood clots. Not everyone’s favorite subject. But a better understanding of these biological structures could mean better medical practices associated with wound healing, strokes, and surgery. This series of SEM images shows fibrin strands assembling a clot in an injured rat liver (scale bars are 1 μm). Going from left to right, the mechanical forces imposed by the fibrin progressively deform red blood cells from round to polyhedral shapes (middle row), while roughening the surfaces of platelets and locking them together. The Canadian and Chinese researchers who recorded these images are using such insights to make a light-activated bioadhesives that leverage clotting chemistry—and they’re drawing structural inspiration for their surgical glue from the venom of the barba amarilla pit viper, whose bite can cause abnormal clotting.
Credit: Sci. Adv. 2021, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf9635
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