Acta Biomaterialia 51, 21–52 (2017)
Controlling the morphology and outgrowth of nerve and neuroglial cells: The effect of surface topography
Unlike other tissue types, like epithelial tissue, which consist of cells with a much more homogeneous structure and function, the nervous tissue spans in a complex multilayer environment whose topographical features display a large spectrum of morphologies and size scales. Traditional cell cultures, which are based on two-dimensional cell-adhesive culture dishes or coverslips, are lacking topographical cues and mainly simulate the biochemical microenvironment of the cells. With the emergence of micro- and nano-fabrication techniques new types of cell culture platforms are developed, where the effect of various topographical cues on cellular morphology, proliferation and differentiation can be studied. Different approaches (regarding the material, fabrication technique, topographical characteristics, etc.) have been implemented. The present review paper aims at reviewing the existing body of literature on the use of artificial micro- and nano-topographical features to control neuronal and neuroglial cells’ morphology, outgrowth and neural network topology. The cell responses–from phenomenology to investigation of the underlying mechanisms- on the different topographies, including both deterministic and random ones, are summarized.
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