Opera Medica et Physiologica

Neuronal cultures

Investigating Mechanisms of Axon Navigation Using Microfluidic Methods



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Axo-axonal interactions of neuronal cells play an important role in functional development during embryogenesis. Axons of the cells formed on early stages of the brain development provide a template for the growing axons of later axons. However, the mechanisms of the guiding of younger axons by already formed axons are not well understood. In this study, we present a method to study such axo-axonal interactions in vitro using microfluidics methods and culturing neocortical cells. We studied the dynamics of axon growth in microchannels perpendicularly intersecting with other microchannels. This study provides fundamental understanding of the axonal navigation in microfluidic structures, which further facilitate the design of  experimental in vitro model for studying the role of already formed axons in the development of neuronal system.


Microfluidics Applications in Fundamental and Medical Studies in Neuroscience


Today many fundamental questions in Neuroscience such as neuron synaptic coupling in various conditions, synaptic connectivity in the network, morphological structure and cell layers formation and many others require a development of new methods for cell manipulation and observation. Microfluidic chips containing chambers for cell plating can be easily fabricated and used for long-term imaging. and electrophysiological signal registration on MEA (microelectrode arrays).

PDF icon 10.20388omp2015.00s1.004.pdf245.71 KB


Today many fundamental questions in Neuroscience can be addressed with Microfluidics methods which provide unique approaches for cell patterning and control neural branch outgrowth. Such methods can be used to gwoe separate subpopulations of dissociated neurons connected with uni-directional connectivity. Combined with microelectrode arrays such approach can be used to simulate and study neurogenesis, learning and information coding in neural networks.

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