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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Aug 1;10(30):25127-25134. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b07560. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Peptide Nanofiber Substrates for Long-Term Culturing of Primary Neurons.

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Dementia Research Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine , University of New South Wales , Sydney , NSW 2052 , Australia.
School of Chemistry, The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science & Technology , University of New South Wales , Sydney , NSW , 2052 , Australia.
Neurodegeneration and Repair Unit, School of Medical Sciences and Neuronal Culture Core Facility , University of New South Wales , Sydney , NSW 2052 , Australia.
Dementia Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , Macquarie University , Sydney , NSW 2109 , Australia.
Neuroscience Research Australia , Sydney , NSW 2031 , Australia.


The culturing of primary neurons represents a central pillar of neuroscience research. Primary neurons are derived directly from brain tissue and recapitulate key aspects of neuronal development in an in vitro setting. Unlike neural stem cells, primary neurons do not divide; thus, initial attachment of cells to a suitable substrate is critical. Commonly used polylysine substrates can suffer from batch variability owing to their polymeric nature. Herein, we report the use of chemically well-defined, self-assembling tetrapeptides as substrates for primary neuronal culture. These water-soluble peptides assemble into fibers which facilitate adhesion and development of primary neurons, their long-term survival (>40 days), synaptic maturation, and electrical activity. Furthermore, these substrates are permissive toward neuronal transfection and transduction which, coupled with their uniformity and reproducible nature, make them suitable for a wide variety of applications in neuroscience.


cell culture; neuroscience; self-assembling peptides; tissue engineering


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