Directed neuron growth through physical and chemical clues.
- Within the body, the interactions between neurons and their surroundings control the growth and development of the neurons. Many diseases are caused when the interactions between multiple neurons, or a neuron and the extracellular matrix is not working correctly. Being able to control and examine these interactions in detail could lead to a better understanding of many neural diseases. Also, we ca... read moren use the knowledge of cues given by the body to manipulate neuron growth. This could be used to guide neural growth and have optimal connections between neurons and a prosthetic limb for better control and feedback responses. We have taken two different approaches to controlling neural growth: chemical and physical cues. In the chemical cues, we attempted to selectively plated laminin using a PDMS stamp in a grid pattern. While we were unable to achieve laminin transfer, we managed to create a PDMS stamp in the desired pattern. We also looked at physical cues such as electric and magnetic fields and grooved silk films. The strength of the fields and stimulation time were varied to find the optimal response. A combination of electric and magnetic fields was also tested for alignment. We achieved alignment at some stimulation parameters, however we did not see any trends associated with longer stimulation time or higher field strengths. Neuron interaction with silk films depended on the relationship of the groove size to the size of the neural cell bodies, with the neurons either sitting in the larger grooves or on top of the smaller grooves. Overall, we managed to create a stamp that could be used for further cell patterning and controlled neural growth through physical cues.read less