Nano Research

Article Title

Strong contact coupling of neuronal growth cones with height-controlled vertical silicon nanocolumns


vertical silicon nanostructures, metal-assisted chemical etching, primary hippocampal neurons, neurite outgrowth, cytoskeletal dynamics


ABSTRACT In this study, we report that height-controlled vertically etched silicon nanocolumn arrays (vSNAs) induce strong growth cone-to-substrate coupling and accelerate in vitro neurite development while preserving the essential features of initial neurite formation. Large-scale preparation of vSNAs with flat head morphology enabled the generation of well-controlled topographical stimulation without cellular impalement. A systematic analysis on topographyinduced variations on cellular morphology and cytoskeletal dynamics was conducted. In addition, neurite development on the grid-patterned vSNAs exhibited preferential adhesion to the nanostructured region and outgrowth directionality. The arrangement of cytoskeletal proteins and the expression of a focal adhesion complex indicated that a strong coupling existed between the underlying nanocolumns and growth cones. Furthermore, the height-controlled nanocolumn substrates differentially modulated neurite polarization and elongation. Our findings provide an important insight into neuron-nanotopography interactions and their role in cell adhesion and neurite development.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press