Due to their biomimetic properties, electrospun nanofibers have been widely used in neurobiology studies. However, mechanistic understanding of cell-nanofiber interactions is challenging based on the current in vitro culture systems due to the lack of control of spatiotemporal patterning of cells and difficulty in monitoring single cell behavior. To overcome these issues, we apply microfluidic technology in combination with electrospun nanofibers for in vitro studies of interactions between neurons and nanofiber materials. We demonstrate a unique nanofiber embedded microfluidic device which contains patterned aligned or random electrospun nanofibers as a new culture system. With this device, we test how different topographies affect axonal growth. Also, we conduct laser based axotomy on neurons cultured on our device to investigate axonal regeneration. The proposed device could be a useful tool for investigating nerve injury mechanisms and high-throughput screening of biomaterials or drugs for nerve repair. The knowledge obtained using this device can be applicable to design medical devices such as nerve conduits for effective nerve regeneration.
- axonal regeneration
- electrospun nanofibers
- nerve injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Materials Chemistry