Enhanced Migration of Neural Stem Cells by Microglia Grown on a Three-Dimensional Graphene Scaffold

Ziyun Jiang, Qin Song, Mingliang Tang, Lingyan Yang, Yilin Cheng, Min Zhang, Dongsheng Xu, Guosheng Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


One of the key challenges in engineering neural tissues for cell-based therapies is to develop a biocompatible scaffold material to direct neural stem cell (NSC) behaviors. One great advantage for a scaffold would be to induce NSC migration toward pathological sites during regeneration and repair. In particular, the inflammatory responses in the pathological zone, which are mainly mediated by microglia in the central nervous system, affect the repair capacity of NSCs through NSC migration. Recently, graphene was used as a neural interface and scaffold material, but few studies have addressed the relationship between microglia and NSCs in a graphene culture system. In this study, we used a combination of immunofluorescence, Western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and scanning electron microscopy to investigate how conditioned medium (CM) produced from microglia grown on two-dimensional graphene (2D-G) films or three-dimensional graphene (3D-G) foams govern NSC migration. The results revealed that the CM produced by microglia grown in 3D-G cultures could promote neurosphere formation, facilitate NSC migration from the neurospheres, and increase single cell polarization by activating the stromal cell-derived factor 1 α (SDF-1α)/CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) signaling pathway and enhancing cell adhesion on the substrate. By contrast, the 2D-G CM failed to achieve these results. Our study suggests the great potential of 3D-G as a neural scaffold for NSC-based therapy in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25069-25077
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 28 2016


  • 3D graphene culture
  • SDF-1α/CXCR4
  • cell adhesion
  • microglia
  • migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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