Neurite development in PC12 cells on flexible micro-textured substrates under cyclic stretch.
ABSTRACT We investigated the combined effect of micro-texture and mechanical strain on neuronal cell development such as neurite length and neurite density in a rat pheochromocytoma cell line (PC12 cells). Cells were seeded on flexible silicone substrates with micro-texture or no texture (smooth) and cultured under static and dynamic conditions. In the static condition substrates were not stretched and in the dynamic conditions substrates were subjected to cyclic uniaxial stretching at three different strain levels of 4%, 8%, and 16% with each at three different strain rates at 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 Hz. Results showed that of all cell cultures there was no significant difference in neurite development between cells on smooth and textured substrates, except in the static and 4% at 0.1 Hz conditions, where micro-texture induced significantly longer neurites. With both types of substrates, a lower mechanical condition (4% at 1.0 Hz or 16% at 0.1 Hz) resulted in more and longer neurites and lower cell density, and a higher mechanical condition (16% at 1.0 Hz) resulted in fewer and shorter neurites and lower cell density as compared to the static condition. These findings suggest that the effect of the micro-texture on neurite development is more prominent in low mechanical conditions than in high mechanical conditions and that the strain level and strain rate have an interrelated effect on neurite development: a higher strain level at a lower strain rate has a similar effect as a lower strain level at a higher strain rate in terms of promoting neurite development.