Mechanisms of Reduced Astrocyte Surface Coverage in Cortical Neuron-Glia Co-cultures on Nanoporous Gold Surfaces

Christopher A R Chapman, Hao Chen, Marianna Stamou, Pamela J Lein, Erkin Seker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Nanoporous gold (np-Au) is a promising multifunctional material for neural electrodes. We have previously shown that np-Au nanotopography reduces astrocyte surface coverage (linked to undesirable gliosis) while maintaining high neuronal coverage in a cortical primary neuron-glia co-culture model as long as 2 weeks in vitro. Here, we investigate the potential influence of secreted soluble factors from cells grown on np-Au leading to the cell type-specific surface coverage on conventional tissue culture plastic. We then test the hypothesis that secretion of factors is responsible for inhibiting astrocyte coverage on np-Au. In order to assess whether factors secreted from cells grown on np-Au surfaces reduced surface coverage by astrocytes, we seeded fresh primary rat neuron-glia co-cultures on conventional polystyrene culture dishes, but maintained the cells in conditioned media from co-cultures grown on np-Au surfaces. After 1 week in vitro, a preferential reduction in astrocyte surface coverage was not observed, suggesting that soluble factors are not playing a role. In contrast, 4 h after cell seeding there were a significant number of non-adhered, yet still viable, cells for the cultures on np-Au surfaces. We hypothesize that the non-adherent cells are mainly astrocytes, because: (i) there was no difference in neuronal cell coverage between np-Au and pl-Au for long culture durations and (ii) neurons are post-mitotic and not expected to increase in number upon attaching to the surface. Overall, the results suggest that the np-Au topography leads to preferential neuronal attachment shortly after cell seeding and limits astrocyte-specific np-Au surface coverage at longer culture durations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Cell attachment
  • Cell-material interaction
  • Gliosis
  • Nanoporous gold
  • Nanostructure
  • Neuroengineering
  • Neuron-glia co-culture
  • Soluble factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation


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