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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Central neuronal synapse formation on micropatterned surfaces.

Controlling synapse formation is a key to patterning of neurons into functional circuits and networks in vitro. However, the process of synapse formation among neurons grown on artificial surfaces is relatively unstudied. We cultured embryonic hippocampal cells on trimethoxysilylpropyl-diethylenetriamine (DETA) and tridecafluoro-1, 1,2,2-tetrahydrooctyl-1-dimethylchlorosilane (13F), and on patterns composed of DETA lines separated by 13F spaces. For comparison, neurons were concurrently plated on surfaces coated with uniform poly-d-lysine (PDL). Pre- and postsynaptic specializations were identified by immunostaining for synapsin I and microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP-2). Spontaneous (SPCs) and evoked (EPCs) postsynaptic currents were recorded using dual patch-clamp techniques. We found that DETA promoted synapse formation, whereas evidence for synapse formation on 13F was barely detected. MAP-2+ neuronal soma and rapidly growing dendrites were co-localized with synapsin I puncta faithfully along DETA lines. The expression of synapsin I puncta, and MAP-2+ soma and dendrites correlated well with the appearance of SPCs. Synapsin I, MAP-2 and SPCs emerged together at days 3-4 and increased at day 7, when EPCs appeared. Synaptic signals occurring during 4-7 days in culture were all GABAergic. These results indicate that fully functional synapses are formed on silane surfaces, demonstrating the suitability of patterned silane surfaces for organizing synapse formation in vitro.[1]


  1. Central neuronal synapse formation on micropatterned surfaces. Ma, W., Liu, Q.Y., Jung, D., Manos, P., Pancrazio, J.J., Schaffner, A.E., Barker, J.L., Stenger, D.A. Brain Res. Dev. Brain Res. (1998) [Pubmed]
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