Triangles guide the way for live neural circuits in a dish
Korean scientists have used tiny stars, squares and triangles as a toolkit to create live neural circuits in a dish.
They hope the shapes can be used to create a reproducible neural circuit model that could be used for learning and memory studies as well as drug screening applications; the shapes could also be integrated into the latest neural tissue scaffolds to aid the regeneration of neurons at injured sites in the body, such as the spinal cord.
Published today in the Journal of Neural Engineering, the study, by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), found that triangles were the most effective shape for helping to facilitate the growth of axons and guide them onto specific paths to form a complete circuit.
A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information around the body. The neuron is composed of three main parts: a cell body, or soma, dendrites and an axon, which extends from the soma and links to other cells, creating a network.
When axons grow they are usually guided by proteins. Many researchers have been trying to re-create this key process in a dish by manipulating nerve cells from rat brains.
As nerve cells are usually just a few tens of micrometres in size, the challenge associated with creating a live neural network is firstly positioning cells in desired locations and, secondly, making connections between these cells by guiding the axons in designated directions.
The researchers investigated whether two star shapes, five regular shapes (square, circle, triangle, pentagon and hexagon) and three different sizes of isosceles triangles could guide axons in designated directions. Each shape was the size of a single cell and was replicated to form an array which was printed onto a glass surface.
Each of the arrays had an overall size of 1cm-by-1cm with a gap of 10 micrometres between each shape. Hippocampal neurons were taken from rats and plated onto the patterned surfaces. The neurons were fluorescently labelled with dyes so that images could be taken of their growth.
The researchers found that triangles were the most efficient shape to encourage the growth and guidance of an axon. The key to this was the angles at the points where two of the triangle's lines meet, also known as the vertices. It was shown that the smaller the vertices, the higher chance the triangle had of inducing growth.
"Based on our results, we are suggesting a new design principle for guiding axons in a dish. We can control the axonal growth in a certain direction by putting a sharp triangle pointing to a certain direction. Then, a neuron that adhered to the triangle will have an axon in the sharp vertex direction.
"Overall, we integrated microtechnology with neurobiology to find a new engineering solution" continued Professor Nam.
More information: "Geometric effect of cell adhesive polygonal micropatterns on neuritogenesis and axon guidance" Jang M J and Nam Y 2012 J. Neural Eng. 9 046019 iopscience.iop.org… 2/9/4/046019
Journal reference: Journal of Neural Engineering
Provided by Institute of Physics
- Researchers uncover a new piece of the puzzle in the development of our nervous system Jul 14, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Research could lead to new treatments for brain injuries Nov 20, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers identify mechanism that regulates how neural circuits between the retina and brain form Jan 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Connection discovered between the nervous system and the vascular system Jun 08, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists learn how stem cell implants help heal traumatic brain injury Jan 12, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
11 hours ago As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
Neuroscience 2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Moving objects attract greater attention – a fact exploited by video screens in public spaces and animated advertising banners on the Internet. For most animal species, moving objects also play a major ...
Neuroscience 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
It is known that signs of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease can appear years before the disease becomes manifest; these signs take the form of subtle changes in the brain and behavior of ...
Neuroscience 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists have reversed behavioral and brain abnormalities in adult mice that resemble some features of schizophrenia by restoring normal expression to a suspect gene that is over-expressed in humans with ...
Neuroscience 6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have unraveled the molecular foundations of cocaine's effects on the brain, and identified a compound that blocks cravings for the drug in cocaine-addicted mice. The compound, already proven safe ...
Neuroscience 6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—For HIV-infected individuals with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, fecal microbiota therapy is feasible, according to a letter published in the May 21 issue of the Annals of Intern ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—A federal panel of medical experts says that an experimental insomnia drug from Merck & Co Inc. appears safe and effective, despite evidence from company trials that the pill can cause daytime sleepiness and difficulty ...
41 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Implementation of systematic monitoring for medication adherence will allow for identification of barriers to adherence and tailoring of interventions, according to a viewpoint piece published ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 1 |
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
5 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |