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Control of Cell Adhesion and Neurite Outgrowth by Patterned Gold Nanoparticles with Tunable Attractive or Repulsive Surface


Control of Cell Adhesion and Neurite Outgrowth by Patterned Gold Nanoparticles Colorized SEM image of a neuritre of a rat cortical neuron growing on a pattern of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and a larger area of gold nanoparticles assembled in a pattern predefined by nanoimprint lithography. The AuNPs are equipped with different surface functionalities and used for investigation of patterned neuron surface adhesion and neurite outgrowth. Cell attractive and cell repulsive surface areas are easily converted into each other by simple thiol chemistry.

Sandra Gilles, Silke Winter, Kristin E. Michael, Simone H. Meffert, Pinggui Li, Kyrylo Greben, Ulrich Simon, Andreas Offenhäusser, and Dirk Mayer


Neuronal adhesion to artificial substrates is a key element of biotechnological and biomedical neuroscience. Researchers of the RWTH Aachen University, Inorganic Chemistry, and the Forschungszentrum Jülich have developed together a new route to guide neuron adhesion and neurite outgrowth by combining top down Nanoimprint lithography with bottom up gold nanoparticles self assembly. The gold nanoparticles act as templates for the localized attachment of neuron binding ligands with high chemical contrast to the SiO2 substrate.

Abstract: Guiding of neuronal cells on surfaces is required for the investigation of fundamental aspects of neurobiology, for tissue engineering, and for numerous bioelectronic applications. A modular method to establish nanostructured chemical templates for local deposition of gold nanoparticles is presented. A process comprising nanoimprint lithography, silanization, lift-off, and gold nanoparticle immobilization is used to fabricate the particle patterns. The chemical composition of the surface can be modified by in situ adsorption of cell-binding ligands to locally addressed particles.

The versatility of this approach is demonstrated by inverting the binding affinity between rat cortical neurons and nanopatterned surfaces via wet-chemical means and thereby reversing the pattern of guided neurons.

small 2012, 8, No. 21, 3357–3367, DOI: 10.1002/smll.201200465