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J Neurobiol. 1994 Dec;25(12):1509-16.

The growth of PC12 neurites is biased towards the anode of an applied electrical field.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


We have exposed cultures of PC12 cells to uniform DC electric fields following the addition of NGF. The success of these experiments relied upon the design of new chambers enabling fields to be applied to mammalian cell cultures. After 48 h of field application, the distribution of neurite outgrowths was biased towards the anode. More neurites faced the anode than would be expected if growth was uniform. The magnitude of this bias was strongly correlated with field strength, with a threshold value of about 1 mV/mm. At field strengths above 30 mV/mm, the neurites growing towards the cathode were shorter than those growing towards the anode or perpendicular to the field. This response was not correlated with field strength. This report confirms that mammalian neurons respond to electrical fields and supports the notion that neurites are influenced by endogenous electrical fields during development. As far as we are aware, this is the only report that documents a response towards the anode.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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