Calaresu, 2021

2021 - Advanced Materials Interfaces. URI: DOI: 10.1002/admi.202002121

Polystyrene Nanopillars with Inbuilt Carbon Nanotubes Enable Synaptic Modulation and Stimulation in Interfaced Neuronal Networks.

Calaresu I, Hernandez L, Rauti R, Rodilla B L, Arché-Núñez A, Perez L, Camarero L, Miranda R, González M T, Rodríguez I, Scaini D, Ballerini L.


The use of nanostructured materials and nanosized-topographies has the potential to impact the performance of implantable biodevices, including neural interfaces, enhancing their sensitivity and selectivity, while reducing tissue reactivity. As a result, current trends in biosensor technology require the effective ability to improve devices with controlled nanostructures. Nanoimprint lithography to pattern surfaces with high-density and high aspect ratio nanopillars (NPs) made of polystyrene (PS-NP, insulating), or of a polystyrene/carbon-nanotube nanocomposite (PS-CNT-NP, electrically conductive) are exploited. Both substrates are challenged with cultured primary neurons. They are demonstrated to support the development of suspended synaptic networks at the NPs’ interfaces characterized by a reduction in proliferating neuroglia, and a boost in neuronal emergent electrical activity when compared to flat controls. The authors successfully exploit their conductive PS-CNT-NPs to stimulate cultured cells electrically. The ability of both nanostructured surfaces to interface tissue explants isolated from the mouse spinal cord is then tested. The integration of the neuronal circuits with the NP topology, the suspended nature of the cultured networks, the reduced neuroglia formation, and the higher network activity together with the ability to deliver electrical stimuli via PS-CNT-NP reveal such platforms as promising designs to implement on neuro-prosthetic or neurostimulation devices.


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