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PLoS One. 2017 Apr 13;12(4):e0175550. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175550. eCollection 2017.

Dorsal root ganglia neurite outgrowth measured as a function of changes in microelectrode array resistance.

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Department of Biology, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, United States of America.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, United States of America.
Ocean & Mechanical Engineering Department, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, United States of America.


Current research in prosthetic device design aims to mimic natural movements using a feedback system that connects to the patient's own nerves to control the device. The first step in using neurons to control motion is to make and maintain contact between neurons and the feedback sensors. Therefore, the goal of this project was to determine if changes in electrode resistance could be detected when a neuron extended a neurite to contact a sensor. Dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were harvested from chick embryos and cultured on a collagen-coated carbon nanotube microelectrode array for two days. The DRG were seeded along one side of the array so the processes extended across the array, contacting about half of the electrodes. Electrode resistance was measured both prior to culture and after the two day culture period. Phase contrast images of the microelectrode array were taken after two days to visually determine which electrodes were in contact with one or more DRG neurite or tissue. Electrodes in contact with DRG neurites had an average change in resistance of 0.15 MΩ compared with the electrodes without DRG neurites. Using this method, we determined that resistance values can be used as a criterion for identifying electrodes in contact with a DRG neurite. These data are the foundation for future development of an autonomous feedback resistance measurement system to continuously monitor DRG neurite outgrowth at specific spatial locations.

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