Neurons on nanometric topographies: insights into neuronal behaviors in vitro
Topography, the physical characteristics of an environment, is one of the most prominent stimuli neurons can encounter in the body. Many aspects of neurons and neuronal behavior are affected by the size, shape, and pattern of the physical features of the environment. A recent increase in the use of nanometric topographies, due to improved fabrication techniques, has resulted in new findings on neuronal behavior and development. Factors such as neuron adhesion, neurite alignment, and even the rate of neurite formation have all been highlighted through nanotopographies as complex phenomena that are driven by intricate intracellular mechanisms. Nanotopographies are suitable platforms, not only for fundamental studies on neuronal development, but also in practical applications, including multielectrode array devices and neuro-regenerative medicine. We reviewed recent publications that address the effects of nanotopography on neurons and categorized the observed behaviors as adherence, directional guidance, or accelerated outgrowth. We also discussed possible biological mechanisms of the molecular and cellular responses to topography, and suggested future perspectives for this field.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials Science review articles