3D Printed Scaffolds for Neuronal Cell Growth on the Cover of Materials Today

April 25,2018

3D reconstruction of a two-photon fluorescence image stack showing neuro2A cells on a PEGDA scaffold.

Soft 3D micro-environments are required in tissue engineering to allow cell culture, growth and proliferation in a nature mimicking environment. With this goal in mind, scientists at the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS-CNRS) in Toulouse (France) developed 3D biocompatible cell scaffolds made of polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA). Their scientific work is featured on the cover of Materials Today.

With the use of a Nanoscribe 3D printer they fabricated PEGDA woodpile-like structures with cylindrical rods of 20 µm in diameter. They cultured neuro2A cells on the scaffolds and showed that they are optimal environments for neuronal cell growth. An important property of these cell scaffolds is their softness: The measured Young’s modulus of 200-300 kPa is significantly lower than that of previously fabricated 3D cell scaffolds with Young’s moduli in the GPa range. The neuronal cells grow benefitting from the softness of the PEGDA scaffolds even forming neurofilaments and neuritic interconnects of up to 60 µm between the cells. These results open the way for future investigations in neural tissue engineering and neurodegeneration studies based on 3D printed scaffolds.

SEM image of neuro2A cells on a PEGDA scaffold
Scanning electron microscope images of the neuro2A cells on a PEGDA scaffold.

Read the full paper here: Two-photon lithography and microscopy of 3D hydrogel scaffolds for neuronal cell growth 

The Materials Today cover article is featured here: Direct laser fabrication of free-standing PEGDA-hydrogel scaffolds for neuronal cell growth: Engineering 3D biocompatible microenvironments 

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