Probing neural cell behaviors through micro-/nano-patterned chitosan substrates.

PMID 26685015


In this study, we describe the development of surface-modified chitosan substrates to examine topographically related Neuro-2a cell behaviors. Different functional groups can be modified on chitosan surfaces to probe Neuro-2a cell morphology. To prepare chitosan substrates with micro/nano-scaled features, we demonstrated an easy-to-handle method that combined photolithography, inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etching, Ag nanoparticle-assisted etching, and solution casting. The results show that Neuro-2a cells preferred to adhere to a flat chitosan surface rather than a nanotextured chitosan surface as evidenced by greater immobilization and differentiation, suggesting that surface topography is crucial for neural patterning. In addition, we developed chitosan substrates with different geometric patterns and flat region depth; this allowed us to re-arrange or re-pattern Neuro-2a cell colonies at desired locations. We found that a polarity-induced micropattern provided the most suitable surface pattern for promoting neural network formation on a chitosan substrate. The cellular polarity of single Neuro-2a cell spreading correlated to a diamond-like geometry and neurite outgrowth was induced from the corners toward the grooves of the structures. This study provide greater insight into neurobiology, including neurotransmitter screening, electrophysiological stimulation platforms, and biomedical engineering.