Neuron dynamics on directional surfaces†
Geometrical features play a very important role in neuronal growth and the formation of functional connections between neuronal cells. Here, we analyze the dynamics of axonal growth for neuronal cells cultured on micro-patterned polydimethylsiloxane surfaces. We utilize fluorescence microscopy to image axons, quantify their dynamics, and demonstrate that periodic geometrical patterns impart strong directional bias to neuronal growth. We quantify axonal alignment and present a general stochastic approach that quantitatively describes the dynamics of the growth cones. Neuronal growth is described by a general phenomenological model, based on a simple automatic controller with a closed-loop feedback system. We demonstrate that axonal alignment on these substrates is determined by the surface geometry, and it is quantified by the deterministic part of the stochastic (Langevin and Fokker–Planck) equations. We also show that the axonal alignment with the surface patterns is greatly suppressed by the neuron treatment with Blebbistatin, a chemical compound that inhibits the activity of myosin II. These results give new insight into the role played by the molecular motors and external geometrical cues in guiding axonal growth, and could lead to novel approaches for bioengineering neuronal regeneration platforms.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Active Matter