SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol.6, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Our study focuses on characterization of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons cultured on silicon micro-pillar substrates (MPS) with the ultimate goal of designing micro-electrode arrays (MEAs) for successful electrophysiological recordings of DRG neurons. Adult and neonatal DRG neurons were cultured on MPS and glass coverslips for 7 days in vitro. DRG neuronal distribution and morphometric analysis, including neurite alignment and length, was performed on MPS areas with different pillar width and spacing. We showed that MPS provide an environment for growth of adult and neonatal DRG neurons as permissive as control glass surfaces. Neonatal DRG neurons were present on MPS areas with narrow pillar spacing, while adult neurons preferred wider pillar spacing. Compared to the control glass surfaces the neonatal and adult DRG neurons in regions with narrow pillar spacing range developed a smaller number of longer neurites. In the same area, neurites were preferentially oriented along three directional axes at 30 degrees, 90 degrees and 150 degrees. MPS architecture influenced growth directionality of all main DRG neuronal subtypes. We can conclude that specific micro-pillar substrate topography affects the morphology of DRG neurons. This knowledge can enable development of MEAs with precisely defined physical features for various neuroscience applications.