Polystyrene nanopillars with inbuilt carbon nanotubes enable synaptic modulation and stimulation in interfaced neuronal networks



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Calaresu, Ivo and Hernández, Jaime and Rauti, Rossana and Rodilla, Beatriz L. and Arché-Núñez, Ana and Pérez García, Lucas and Camarero, Julio and Miranda, Rodolfo and González, M. Teresa and Rodríguez, Isabel and Scaini, Denis and Ballerini, Laura (2021) Polystyrene nanopillars with inbuilt carbon nanotubes enable synaptic modulation and stimulation in interfaced neuronal networks. Advanced materials interfaces . ISSN 2196-7350

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/admi.202002121


The use of nanostructured materials and nanosized-topographies has the potential to impact the performance of implantable biodevices, including neural interfaces, enhancing their sensitivity and selectivity, while reducing tissue reactivity. As a result, current trends in biosensor technology require the effective ability to improve devices with controlled nanostructures. Nanoimprint lithography to pattern surfaces with high-density and high aspect ratio nanopillars (NPs) made of polystyrene (PS-NP, insulating), or of a polystyrene/carbon-nanotube nanocomposite (PS-CNT-NP, electrically conductive) are exploited. Both substrates are challenged with cultured primary neurons. They are demonstrated to support the development of suspended synaptic networks at the NPs' interfaces characterized by a reduction in proliferating neuroglia, and a boost in neuronal emergent electrical activity when compared to flat controls. The authors successfully exploit their conductive PS-CNT-NPs to stimulate cultured cells electrically. The ability of both nanostructured surfaces to interface tissue explants isolated from the mouse spinal cord is then tested. The integration of the neuronal circuits with the NP topology, the suspended nature of the cultured networks, the reduced neuroglia formation, and the higher network activity together with the ability to deliver electrical stimuli via PS-CNT-NP reveal such platforms as promising designs to implement on neuro-prosthetic or neurostimulation devices.

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©2021 The Authors. Advanced Materials Interfaces published by Wiley-VCH GmbH

This work was performed within the framework of the ByAXON project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 FET Open program under grant agreement No. 737116. The work was partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through project BiSURE (Grant DPI2017-90058-R) and the "Severo Ochoa" Programme for Centres of Excellence in R&D (MINECO, Grant SEV-2016-0686). D.S. acknowledges the support of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 838902. M. A. Monclus and J. M. Molina-Aldareguia from IMDEA Materials are acknowledged for the nanoindentation testing.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Biomaterials; Carbon nanotubes; Electrical stimulation; Hippocampal cultures; Nanopillars; Spinal cord organotypic slices; Suspended two-dimensional cultures
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Materials
Sciences > Physics > Solid state physics
ID Code:64636
Deposited On:09 Apr 2021 17:09
Last Modified:14 Jan 2022 12:25

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