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Biomaterials. 2011 Jan;32(3):681-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.09.033. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

The surface immobilization of the neural adhesion molecule L1 on neural probes and its effect on neuronal density and gliosis at the probe/tissue interface.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Brain tissue inflammatory responses, including neuronal loss and gliosis at the neural electrode/tissue interface, limit the recording stability and longevity of neural probes. The neural adhesion molecule L1 specifically promotes neurite outgrowth and neuronal survival. In this study, we covalently immobilized L1 on the surface of silicon-based neural probes and compared the tissue response between L1 modified and non-modified probes implanted in the rat cortex after 1, 4, and 8 weeks. The effect of L1 on neuronal health and survival, and glial cell reactions were evaluated with immunohistochemistry and quantitative image analysis. Similar to previous findings, persistent glial activation and significant decreases of neuronal and axonal densities were found at the vicinity of the non-modified probes. In contrast, the immediate area (100 μm) around the L1 modified probe showed no loss of neuronal bodies and a significantly increased axonal density relative to background. In this same region, immunohistochemistry analyses show a significantly lower activation of microglia and reaction of astrocytes around the L1 modified probes when compared to the control probes. These improvements in tissue reaction induced by the L1 coating are likely to lead to improved functionality of the implanted neural electrodes during chronic recordings.

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