The promotion of neurite sprouting and outgrowth of mouse hippocampal cells in culture by graphene substrates
Graphene has been demonstrated in many biomedical applications and its potentials for neural interfacing. Emerging concerns on graphene, as a biomedical material, are its biocompatibility and how biologically targeted tissue/cells respond to it. Relatively few studies attempted to address the interactions of graphene or its derivatives with the tissues/cells, while very few reports on neural system. In this study, we tried to explore how neurites, one of the key structures for neural functions, are affected by graphene during the development until maturation in a mouse hippocampal culture model. The results reveal that graphene substrates exhibited excellent biocompatibility, as cell viability and morphology were not affected. Meanwhile, neurite numbers and average neurite length on graphene were significantly enhanced during 2–7 days after cell seeding compared with tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS) substrates. Especially on Day 2 of the neural development period, graphene substrates efficiently promoted neurite sprouting and outgrowth to the maximal extent. Additionally, expression of growth-associate protein-43 (GAP-43) was examined in both graphene and TCPS groups. Western blot analysis showed that GAP-43 expression was greatly enhanced in graphene group compared to TCPS group, which might result in the boost of neurite sprouting and outgrowth. This study suggests the potential of graphene as a material for neural interfacing and provides insight into the future biomedical applications of graphene.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 32, Issue 35, December 2011, Pages 9374–9382