Aligned electrospun fibers for neural patterning.
Soliman E., Bianchi F., Sleigh JN., George JH., Cader MZ., Cui Z., Ye H.
OBJECTIVES: To test a 3D approach for neural network formation, alignment, and patterning that is reproducible and sufficiently stable to allow for easy manipulation. RESULTS: A novel cell culture system was designed by engineering a method for the directional growth of neurons. This uses NG108-15 neuroblastoma x glioma hybrid cells cultured on suspended and aligned electrospun fibers. These fiber networks improved cellular directionality, with alignment angle standard deviations significantly lower on fibers than on regular culture surfaces. Morphological studies found nuclear aspect ratios and cell projection lengths to be unchanged, indicating that cells maintained neural morphology while growing on fibers and forming a 3D network. Furthermore, fibronectin-coated fibers enhanced neurite extensions for all investigated time points. Differentiated neurons exhibited significant increases in average neurite lengths 96 h post plating, and formed neurite extensions parallel to suspended fibers, as visualized through scanning electron microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: The developed model has the potential to serve as the basis for advanced 3D studies, providing an original approach to neural network patterning and setting the groundwork for further investigations into functionality.