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Precisely controllable hybrid graphene scaffold reveals size effects on differentiation of neural progenitor cells in mimicking neural network

Ma, Xun, Xiao, Miao, Hao, Ying, Cheng, Guosheng
Carbon 2019 v.145 pp. 90-99
biocompatibility, graphene, neural networks, neural stem cells, neurites, tissue engineering
Well-connected neural network in three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds is essential to replicate the neural connections in vivo. The large spacing size in scaffolds enabling cellular entrance through the pores and sufficient neurites across large spacings addresses a “catch-22” problem. Here, this study presents a conductive, interconnected and free-standing 3D hybrid graphene (3D-HG) scaffold with excellent biocompatibility and precise structural controllability. The unique design of two-dimensional graphene film in 3D-HG facilitated the differentiated neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to bridge the spacings between skeletons and promoted the formation of neural networks. Furthermore, skeleton sizes in 3D graphene scaffold have significant impact on the differentiation behaviors of NPCs. This strategy would favor the simulation of neural tissues and expand the use of graphene in neural tissue engineering, providing a powerful tool to explore the physical effects on cell behaviors.