Controlled arrangement of neuronal cells on surfaces functionalized with micro-patterned polymer brushes

Conventional in vitro cultures are useful to represent simplistic neuronal behaviour, however the lack of organisation results in random neurite spreading. To overcome this problem, control over the directionality of SH-SY5Y cells was attained, utilising photolithography to pattern the cell-repulsive anionic brush poly(potassium 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate) (PKSPMA) into tracks of 20, 40, 80 and 100 µm width. This data validates the use of PKSPMA brush coatings for long-term culture of SH-SY5Y cells, as well as providing a methodology by which the precise deposition of PKSPMA can be utilised to achieve targeted control over SH-SY5Y cells. Specifically, PKSPMA brush patterns prevented cell attachment, allowing SH-SY5Y cells to grow only on the non-coated glass (gaps of 20, 50, 75 and 100 µm width) at different cell densities (5000, 10000 and 15000 cells/cm2). This research demonstrates the importance of achieving cell directionality in vitro, whilst these simplistic models could provide new platforms to study complex neuron-neuron interactions.