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J Neural Eng. 2012 Aug;9(4):046019. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/4/046019. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Geometric effect of cell adhesive polygonal micropatterns on neuritogenesis and axon guidance.

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Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon, 305-701, Korea.


Recent advances in nano- and micro-technology have made it possible to deliver surface-bound extracellular signaling cues to cultured neurons. In this study, we investigated the formation of neurites and axonal outgrowth using various types of polygonal micropatterns ('micropolygon arrays') on cell culture substrates and suggested a novel design principle of in vitro axon guidance. Ten different types of micropolygons (circle, triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, stars and isosceles triangles) were printed on a culture substrate using micro-contact printing with a mixture of poly-l-lysine and laminin A chain synthetic peptide. E18 rat hippocampal neurons were cultured on the patterned substrates, and the relation between micropatterns and neurite outgrowth was analyzed. Micropolygon arrays had effects on the soma shape and neurite initiation. In the case of regular triangle patterns, neurons showed vertex preference in terms of neurite initiation: neurites were more frequently generated from the vertex region. In the case of isosceles triangles, a major neurite was formed from the sharpest vertex and axons were developed from the sharpest vertex. Thus, the direction of axon growth could be controlled by the orientation of the sharpest vertex in the isosceles triangles. This work suggests that the geometry of cell adhesive regions influences the development of a cultured neuron, and the structure of neural circuits can be designed by controlling axonal outgrowth with individual micropolygons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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