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Small. 2015 Nov 11;11(42):5600-10. doi: 10.1002/smll.201501236. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Interfacing Inorganic Nanowire Arrays and Living Cells for Cellular Function Analysis.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.
Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.


Inorganic nanowires are among the most attractive functional materials, which have emerged in the past two decades. They have demonstrated applications in information technology and energy conversion, but their utility in biological or biomedical research remains relatively under-explored. Although nanowire-based sensors have been frequently reported for biomolecular detection, interfacing nanowire arrays and living mammalian cells for the direct analysis of cellular functions is a very recent endeavor. Cell-penetrating nanowires enabled effective delivery of biomolecules, electrical and optical stimulation and recording of intracellular signals over a long period of time. Non-penetrating, high-density nanowire arrays display rich interactions between the nanostructured substrate and the micro/nanoscale features of cell surfaces. Such interactions enable efficient capture of rare cells including circulating tumor cells and trafficking leukocytes from complex biospecimens. It also serves as a platform for probing cell traction force and neuronal guidance. The most recent advances in the field that exploits nanowire arrays (both penetrating and non-penetrating) to perform rapid analysis of cellular functions potentially for disease diagnosis and monitoring are reviewed.


cell-substrate interactions, cellular function analysis; intracellular delivery; nanowire arrays; rare cell analysis

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