Neurotherapeutics; Protein polarization; On chip culture; Magnetic nanoparticles; Primary cortical neurons; Magnetic forces; Directed neurit outgrowth; Mechanical stimulus; Microtechnology; Nanotechnology
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Neural implants are rapidly emerging in clinical applications to treat symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Their insertion into the brain, however, is very invasive causing mechanical trauma, glial scar formation and the degeneration of still intact neurite networks. One possibility to restore damaged neurite connections would be to couple nanoparticles to the end of nerve fibers, and to pull them towards the source of magnetic fields. This approach, however, opens questions such as how strong nanoparticles have to pull on nerve fibers, how strong the magnetic field must be designed, and whether it alters the functioning of other brain cells. To examine these questions quantitatively, we want to apply mechanical forces through magnetic nanoparticles internalized into neurons, and attract these nanoparticles in a micro magnetic field. By applying forces from within cells, the technique allows us to drive cells through non-typically cellular environments rather than to modulate the environment and waiting for a cell response. The microtechnology based approach, enables multiple parameter analysis simultaneously on both single cells and whole cell populations. Using our recently developed nano-to-micro magnetic forces platform with neural cells may help to further improve the biocompatibility of brain implants, and to better understand the biomechanics involved in neurite regeneration.