Neural and aneural regions generated by the use of chemical surface coatings

The disordered environment found in conventional neural cultures impedes various applications where cell directionality is a key process for functionality. Neurons are highly specialized cells known to be greatly dependent on interactions with their surroundings. Therefore, when chemical cues are incorporated on the surface material, a precise control over neuronal behavior can be achieved. Here, the behavior of SH-SY5Y neurons on a variety of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and polymer brushes both in isolation and combination to promote cellular spatial control was determined. APTES and BIBB coatings promoted the highest cell viability, proliferation, metabolic activity, and neuronal maturation, while low cell survival was seen on PKSPMA and PMETAC surfaces. These cell-attractive and repulsive surfaces were combined to generate a binary BIBB-PKSPMA coating, whereby cellular growth was restricted to an exclusive neural region. The utility of these coatings when precisely combined could act as a bioactive/bioinert surface resulting in a biomimetic environment where control over neuronal growth and directionality can be achieved.