We have developed a procedure for stepwise topographical control of network patterns and neurite connection directions between adjacent living neurons using an individual-cell-based on-chip multi-electrode array (MEA) cell cultivation system with an agarose microchamber (AMC) array. This procedure enables flexible and precise control of the cell positions and easy and flexible control of the pattern modification of connections between the cells in AMCs through stepwise photo-thermal etching in which a portion of the agarose layer on the chip is melted with a 1480 nm infrared laser beam even during cultivation. With adequate laser power and this stepwise procedue, we can fabricate narrow micrometer-order grooves (microchannels) during cultivation in a stepwise manner. Using this procedure, we controlled the direction of elongation of axons and dendrites selectively and confirmed the direction by immunostaining. We also demonstrated electrophysiological one-way transmission of signals among aligned hippocampal neurons in which the directions of the neurite connections were controlled using this stepwise photo-thermal etching procedure. These results demonstrate the potential of full direction control of neurite connections between neurons using stepwise photo-thermal etching to form microchannels one by one in an on-chip AMC/MEA cell cultivation system. We can thus better understand the meaning of neuronal network patterns and connection directions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering