Neural stem cells (NSC) have emerged as new therapeutic agents with potential applications in neuronal injury and repair. However, the successful translation of NSC-based therapies requires more sophisticated technologies from the ones that are actually available. Two dimensional (2D) cultures of NSC have been studied to some extent; however three dimensional (3D) neuronal networks which simulate brain conditions maintaining functional neuronal properties (synaptogenesis and neurotrophic performance) remains a challenge. The proposal aims in responding to this challenge by developing 3D laser-engineered micro/nano scaffolds (3DLS) for hosting NSC 3D cultures, as an advantageous platform to study the biology and neurochemistry of NSC proliferation, differentiation, neuritogenesis and synaptogenesis. Initially, the functionality of the neuronal networks developed onto 3DLS will be tested, using a combination of state-of-the-art technologies, including two-photon imaging, advanced electrophysiology, functional genomics and proteomics.The 3DLS-NSC networks will be tested in two applications, by developing: i) 3DLS neuroimplants, hosting mouse NSC, for effectively bridging interrupted spinal cord (SC) in animal models, ii) 3DLS-NSC neurobiosensors for high-throughput screening of new neurogenic compounds, regulators of NSC self-renewal, survival and differentiation. The proposal will advance our basal knowledge on NSC proliferation, differentiation, migration and networking, studying their biological behaviour under 3D conditions.
Further information: http://gravanis.med.uoc.gr/Gravanis_Lab/MAIN_PAGE.html
Figure: Dorsal root ganglion (whole explant) cultured on 3D laser-engineered micro/nano Si scaffolds. Green-S100: Schwann Cells/Blue-Topro: Nuclei/Red-NF: Neurons.The migrating glia cells create a “carpet” onto which the neurites are outgrown.