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SWCNT - A Platform for the growth of Neuron stem cells

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

The nervous system consists of a central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). CNS includes the brain, spinal cord, optic, and olfactory and auditory systems, and provides excitatory stimuli to the PNS. In the case of small injuries, PNS nerves can regenerate on their own. Larger injuries like Spinal cord damages are more complicated, and must be surgically treated. Typically, nerve grafts have to be harvested from elsewhere in the body. The main challenge CNS faces is its minimal regenerative capacity. The solution for spinal cord injury is focused on creating a free non-restrictive environment for regeneration[1], [2]. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are found to be attractive candidates for developing interfaces with biological systems. The electrical properties of SWCNT exhibit a good cell-electrode interface and mechanical support to the neural tissues to attain adequate long-term performance. Interfacing neuronal cells with carbon nanotubes offerthe unique and superior electrical, mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes, making them an excellent candidate for good neural electrodes (NEs)[3]. Maurizio Prato et. al demonstrated that neural activity can be improved by altering the electrical properties of HiPCO® SWCNT substrates without affecting the neuronal growth. Here, the electrical conductivity is enhanced by the number of cross-linking and the degree of functionalization of SWCNT. A clear observation of an increase in active cells was made as the conductivity of the SWCNT substrate increased[4]. The neuron electrode is fabricated by layer-by-layer assembly of HiPCO® single-walled carbon nanotubes and laminin(a protein which is an essential part of the human extracellular matrix) composite. When compared to neuronal behavior on laminin-coated glass slides, longer outgrowths were noted on the SWNT/laminin substrates. Most of the adhered cells showed signs of differentiation, important from the NE perspective. The cross-linking among the layers within SWNT-LBL films served as a junction for the free conductivity of electrons without any complications[3].

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References: [1] C. E. Schmidt and J. B. Leach, “Neural tissue engineering: strategies for repair and regeneration,” Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng., vol. 5, pp. 293–347, 2003. [2] F. Akter, J. Ibanez, and M. Kotter, “Chapter 4 – Neural Tissue Engineering,” in Tissue Engineering Made Easy, F. Akter, Ed. Academic Press, 2016, pp. 29–42. [3] “Electrical Stimulation of Neural Stem Cells Mediated by Humanized Carbon Nanotube Composite Made with Extracellular Matrix Protein | Nano Letters.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Nov-2019]. [4] M. Barrejón, R. Rauti, L. Ballerini, and M. Prato, “Chemically Cross-Linked Carbon Nanotube Films Engineered to Control Neuronal Signaling,” ACS Nano, vol. 13, no. 8, pp. 8879–8889, Aug. 2019. [5] A. V. Liopo, M. P. Stewart, J. Hudson, J. M. Tour, and T. C. Pappas, “Biocompatibility of Native and Functionalized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Neuronal Interface,” May-2006. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Nov-2019]. [6] G. Cellot et al., “Carbon nanotubes might improve neuronal performance by favouring electrical shortcuts,” Nat. Nanotechnol., vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 126–133, Feb. 2009.

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