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A Three-Dimensional Neural Tissue Culture System Based on Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Modified Inverted Colloidal Crystal Hydrogel Scaffold

Edward Jan and Nicholas A. Kotov. Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2300 Hayward St., 3074 H. H. Dow Bldg., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136

Preparation of well-ordered, easily-characterized, and highly reproducible three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds is essential for research in cell biology. 3D scaffolds fabricated with inverted colloidal crystal (ICC) geometry possess a high degree of order among existing cell scaffolds and affords tight control over the scaffold porosity and tissue organization. Using layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly, ICC hydrogel scaffolds were surface modified with multilayers of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). The SWNT matrix increased the interfacial area of the scaffolds and provided nanoscale topological features similar to neurofilaments and nanofibers in the extracellular matrix. To examine the potential of SWNT modified scaffolds for the development of a 3D neural culture system, we seeded and differentiated NG108-15 neuroblastoma glioma hybrid cells on SWNT modified scaffolds and observed the growth and differentiation of the neural cells using viability assays, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Our findings indicated that SWNT modified scaffolds are capable of supporting extensive neurite formations and long term culture of NG108-15 neural cells. We believe that the highly conductive and fibrous SWNT matrix on the scaffolds and the scaffolds' highly porous and well-ordered structure are critical to the formation of 3D neural tissue structures. A 3D neural tissue culture system can be a powerful tool for neuroscience. Our results demonstrate the potential of SWNT modified ICC hydrogel scaffolds for this purpose.