Controlling neurite outgrowth with patterned substrates



In vivo, neurons form neurites, one of which develops into the axon while others become dendrites. While this neuritogenesis process is well programmed in vivo, there are limited methods to control the number and location of neurite extension in vitro. Here we report a method to control neuritogenesis by confining neurons in specific regions using cell resistant poly(oligoethyleneglycol methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid (OEGMA-co-MA)) or poly(ethyleneglycol-block-lactic acid) PEG-PLA. Line patterned substrates reduce multiple extension of neurites and stimulate bi-directional neurite budding for PC12 and cortical neurons. PC12 cells on 20 and 30 μm line patterns extended one neurite in each direction along the line pattern while cortical neuron on 20 and 30 μm line patterns extended one or two neurites in each direction along the line pattern. Statistical analysis of neurite lengths revealed that PC12 cells and cortical neurons on line patterns extend longer neurites. The ability to guide formation of neurites on patterned substrates is useful for generating neural networks and promoting neurite elongation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 2011.