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On Chip Induced Phagocytosis for Improved Neuronal Cell Adhesion

B. Van Meerbergen, T. Raemaekers, K. Winters, D. Braeken, C. Bartic, Y. Engelborghs, W. Annaert and G. Borghs
IMEC, BE

Keywords:
neuronal adhesion, functionalized nanobeads, surface chemistry

Abstract:
Efficient integration of neuronal cells and electronic devices could result in hybrid bi-directional communication systems that would enable us to interact at fundamental level with biological structures and get insight in the mechanisms governing their functions. We deal here with a complex interfacing problem requiring the merger of life sciences and electronic engineering at nano- and micro scale. One important aspect is related to the achievement of a very tight coupling between the neuronal cell membrane and the surface of a electronic chip. Several methods to encourage cell growth and promote cell adhesion by means of surface functionalization have been investigated.
Here we report a novel approach where the manipulation of biological processes, like phagocytosis, is used to improve the coupling between the neuron and the chip surface. Phagocytosis implies particle internalisation by the cells and thus it enables a very close contact between the cell membrane and the particle surface. Our intention is to make use of specialized surface chemistry applied on nanostructured surfaces in order to induce phagocytosis-like events.

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