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Nano Lett. 2007 May;7(5):1123-8. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Successful differentiation of mouse neural stem cells on layer-by-layer assembled single-walled carbon nanotube composite.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


The same properties that made carbon nanotube (CNT) composites interesting for electronics, sensing, and ultrastrong structural materials also make them an asset for biomedical engineering. The combination of electron conductivity, corrosion resistance, and strength are essential for neuroprosthetic devices. All of the studies in this area demonstrating cellular adhesion and signal transduction activity on CNT matrixes were conducted, so far, with terminally differentiated primary cells and cancerous cell lines. Neural stem cells are very plastic neural precursors capable of adapting to environmental conditions and recreating signal transduction pathways. Their intrinsic biological functionality not only makes the transition to stem cell cultures a difficult-to-avoid step but also implies several fundamentally important challenges. Here we demonstrate that mouse embryonic neural stem cells (NSCs) from the cortex can be successfully differentiated to neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes with clear formation of neurites on layer-by-layer (LBL) assembled single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-polyelectrolyte multilayer thin films. Biocompatibility, neurite outgrowth, and expression of neural markers were similar to those differentiated on poly-L-ornithine (PLO), one of the most widely used growth substratums for neural stem cells.

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