Investigation of surface topography and stiffness on adhesion and neurites extension of PC12 cells on crosslinked silica aerogel substrates


Fundamental understanding and characterization of neural response to substrate topography is essential in the development of next generation biomaterials for nerve repair. Aerogels are a new class of materials with great potential as a biomaterial. In this work, we examine the extension of neurites by PC12 cells plated on matrigel-coated and collagen-coated mesoporous aerogel surfaces. We have successfully established the methodology for adhesion and growth of PC12 cells on polyurea crosslinked silica aerogels. Additionally, we have quantified neurite behaviors and compared their response on aerogel substrates with their behavior on tissue culture (TC) plastic, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). We found that, on average, PC12 cells extend longer neurites on crosslinked silica aerogels than on tissue culture plastic, and, that the average number of neurites per cluster is lower on aerogels than on tissue culture plastic. Aerogels are an attractive candidate for future development of smart neural implants and the work presented here creates a platform for future work with this class of materials as a substrate for bioelectronic interfacing.

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