Nanotech 2010

Morphological Studies on Nano-Neuronal Interactions

A. Islam, L. Menon
Northeastern University, US

Keywords: nanowire, neurons


Nanostructures are expected to play a key role in the fundamental investigation of neuronal activity at the nanoscale level. Neurons are complex structures with feature sizes ranging from the millimeter to micron to nanoscale regimes. We have developed arrays of conducting gold nanowire arrays inside nanoporous alumina templates. The wires are vertically aligned and arranged parallel to each other. Rat hippocampal neurons have been cultured on the surface of such nanowire arrays. By utilizing such a nanowire array based nanobiodevice, we investigate the nano-neuro interactions through optical and morphological studies. Interaction between the neurons and the nanowire arrays are studied as a function of scanning electron microscopy, Keck microscopy (Fig.1) and fluorescence microscopy (Fig. 2) studies. We report our results on cell viability and morphology as a function of varying nanowire coatings/growth factors. The viability of cells depends on the bio-conjugation materials on the surface of the Au-nano templates. By using such a nanowire array, we can understand how effectively these interactions can stimulate neurons by means of electrical signals and also record electrical activities from the neurons. It is expected that in the future neurological disorder treatment will involve the development of nanoscale devices based on nano-materials which can directly interface, stimulate and even repair the neurons.
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