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Functional outcomes with neural prosthetic devices, such as cochlear implants, are limited in part due to physical separation between the stimulating elements and the neurons they stimulate. One strategy to close this gap aims to precisely guide neurite regeneration to position the neurites in closer proximity to electrode arrays. Here, we explore the ability of micropatterned biochemical and topographic guidance cues, singly and in combination, to direct the growth of spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) neurites, the neurons targeted by cochlear implants. Photopolymerization of methacrylate monomers was used to form unidirectional topographical features of ridges and grooves in addition to multidirectional patterns with 90o angle turns. Microcontact printing was also used to create similar uni- and multi-directional patterns of peptides on polymer surfaces. Biochemical cues included peptides that facilitate (laminin, LN) or repel (EphA4-Fc) neurite growth. On flat surfaces, SGN neurites preferentially grew on LN-coated stripes and avoided EphA4-Fc-coated stripes. LN or EphA4-Fc was selectively adsorbed onto the ridges or grooves to test the neurite response to a combination of topographical and biochemical cues. Coating the ridges with EphA4-Fc and grooves with LN lead to enhanced SGN alignment to topographical patterns. Conversely, EphA4-Fc coating on the grooves or LN coating on the ridges tended to disrupt alignment to topographical patterns. SGN neurites respond to combinations of topographical and biochemical cues and surface patterning that leverages both cues enhance guided neurite growth. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Kristy Truong, Braden Leigh, Joseph T Vecchi, Reid Bartholomew, Linjing Xu, C Allan Guymon, Marlan R Hansen. Interaction of micropatterned topographical and biochemical cues to direct neurite growth from spiral ganglion neurons. Hearing research. 2021 Sep 15;409:108315

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PMID: 34343850

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