Article

Ultra-rapid modulation of neurite outgrowth in a gigahertz acoustic streaming system

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Abstract

The development of rapid and efficient tools to modulate neurons is vital for the treatment of nervous system diseases. Here, a novel non-invasive neurite outgrowth modulation method based on a controllable acoustic streaming effect induced by an electromechanical gigahertz resonator microchip is reported. The results demonstrate that the gigahertz acoustic streaming can induce cell structure changes within a 10 min period of stimulation, which promotes a high proportion of neurite bearing cells and encourages longer neurite outgrowth. Specifically, the resonator stimulation not only promotes outgrowth of neurites, but also can be combined with chemical mediated methods to accelerate the direct entry of nerve growth factor (NGF) into cells, resulting in higher modulation efficacy. Owing to shear stress caused by the acoustic streaming effect, the resonator microchip mediates stress fiber formation and induces the neuron-like phenotype of PC12 cells. We suggest that this method may potentially be applied to precise single-cell modulation, as well as in the development of non-invasive and rapid disease treatment strategies.

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... It has recently been confirmed that the strong acoustic force driven by BAW can realize in-situ mixing and microparticles concentrating [36,37]. In addition, recent works from our group also found that this strong acoustic streaming could drive the membrane of mammalian cells [38] as well as inducing deformation [35] and differentiation of cells [39], to facilitate the biological applications. ...
... When such acoustic waves are coupled from solid substrates to microfluidics, the wave energy absorbed by liquid will bring flow of the fluid, thus triggering the AS. AS is the result of acoustic energy flux dissipation within the fluid, its force is strongly dependent on the applied power of resonator and the distance from resonator surface [35,39,41]. In this work, we found that by selecting the appropriate microchannel height, the system could achieve excellent functions in selectively capturing larger size of particles and deforming the cell membrane for intracellular delivery of CDs. ...
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Efficient delivery of genes and therapeutic agents to the interior of the cell is critical for modern biotechnology. Herein, a new type of chemical-free cell poration method— hypersonic poration—is developed to improve the cellular uptake, especially the nucleus uptake. The hypersound (≈GHz) is generated by a designed piezoelectric nano-electromechanical resonator, which directly induces normal/shear stress and “molecular bombardment” effects on the bilayer membranes, and creates reversible temporal nanopores improving the membrane permeability. Both theory analysis and cellular uptake experiments of exogenous compounds prove the high delivery efficiency of hypersonic poration. Since target molecules in cells are accumulated with the treatment, the delivered amount can be controlled by tuning the treatment time. Furthermore, owing to the intrinsic miniature of the resonator, localized drug delivery at a confined spatial location and tunable arrays of the resonators that are compatible with multiwell plate can be achieved. The hypersonic poration method shows great delivery efficacy combined with advantage of scalability, tunable throughput, and simplification in operation and provides a potentially powerful strategy in the field of molecule delivery, cell transfection, and gene therapy.
Article
In the mammalian nervous system, billions of neurons connected by quadrillions of synapses exchange electrical, chemical and mechanical signals. Disruptions to this network manifest as neurological or psychiatric conditions. Despite decades of neuroscience research, our ability to treat or even to understand these conditions is limited by the capability of tools to probe the signalling complexity of the nervous system. Although orders of magnitude smaller and computationally faster than neurons, conventional substrate-bound electronics do not recapitulate the chemical and mechanical properties of neural tissue. This mismatch results in a foreign-body response and the encapsulation of devices by glial scars, suggesting that the design of an interface between the nervous system and a synthetic sensor requires additional materials innovation. Advances in genetic tools for manipulating neural activity have fuelled the demand for devices that are capable of simultaneously recording and controlling individual neurons at unprecedented scales. Recently, flexible organic electronics and bio- and nanomaterials have been developed for multifunctional and minimally invasive probes for long-term interaction with the nervous system. In this Review, we discuss the design lessons from the quarter-century-old field of neural engineering, highlight recent materials-driven progress in neural probes and look at emergent directions inspired by the principles of neural transduction. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Article
Current bioelectronic medicines for neurological therapies generally involve treatment with a bioelectronic system comprising a power supply unit and a bioelectrode device. Further integration of wireless and self-powered units is of practical importance for implantable bioelectronics. In this study we developed biocompatible organic photovoltaics (OPVs) for serving as wireless electrical power supply units that can be operated under illumination with near-infrared (NIR) light, and organic bioelectronic interface (OBEI) electrode devices as neural stimulation electrodes. The OPV/OBEI integrated system is capable to provide electrical stimulation (ES) as a means of enhancing neuron-like PC12 cell differentiation and neurite outgrowth. For the OPV design, we prepared devices incorporating two photoactive material systems-β-carotene/N,N´-dioctyl-3,4,9,10-perylenedicarboximide (β-carotene/PTCDI-C8) and poly(3-hexylthiophene)/phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT/PCBM)-that exhibited open circuit voltages of 0.11 and 0.49 V, respectively, under NLED illumination. Then, we connected OBEI devices with different electrode gaps, incorporating biocompatible poly(hydroxymethylated-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), to OPVs to precisely tailor the direct current electric field conditions during the culturing of PC12 cells. This NIR light-driven OPV/OBEI system could be engineered to provide tunable control over the electric field (from 220 to 980 mV mm-1) to promote 64% enhancement in the neurite length, and/or to direct the neurite orientation on chips. The OPV/OBEI integrated systems under NIR illumination appear to function as effective power delivery platforms that should meet the requirements for wirelessly offering medical ES to a portion of the nervous system; they might also be a key technology for the development of next-generation implantable bioelectronics.
Article
Neurons, like most cells, exhibit strong morphological responses to the physical features of their environment, and topographical structures are often utilized to elicit unique neuronal behavior. On page 1148, I. S. Choi and co-workers demonstrate directional control over the neurites of primary hippocampal neurons by using anisotropic pillar topographies as a culture platform. The relationship between inter-pillar distances and the fidelity of unidirectional neurite alignment is explored, and it is shown that neurites preferentially elongate along the closest available pillars. This work features a purely physical means of controlling the orientation of neurite outgrowth, and highlights a valuable platform for studies regarding neuroregeneration or neuronal network formation.
Article
Acoustic streaming underpins an exciting range of fluid manipulation phenomena of rapidly growing significance in microfluidics, where the streaming often assumes the form of a steady, laminar jet emanating from the device surface, driven by the attenuation of acoustic energy within the beam of sound propagating through the liquid. The frequencies used to drive such phenomena are often chosen ad hoc to accommodate fabrication and material issues. In this work, we seek a better understanding of the effects of sound frequency and power on acoustic streaming. We present and, using surface acoustic waves, experimentally verify a laminar jet model that is based on the turbulent jet model of Lighthill, which is appropriate for acoustic streaming seen at micro- to nanoscales, between 20 and 936 MHz and over a broad range of input power. Our model eliminates the critically problematic acoustic source singularity present in Lighthill's model, replacing it with a finite emission area and enabling determination of the streaming velocity close to the source. At high acoustic power P (and hence high jet Reynolds numbers ReJ associated with fast streaming), the laminar jet model predicts a one-half power dependence (U∼P1/2∼ ReJ) similar to the turbulent jet model. However, the laminar model may also be applied to jets produced at low powers-and hence low jet Reynolds numbers ReJ-where a linear relationship between the beam power and streaming velocity exists: U∼P∼ReJ2. The ability of the laminar jet model to predict the acoustic streaming behavior across a broad range of frequencies and power provides a useful tool in the analysis of microfluidics devices, explaining peculiar observations made by several researchers in the literature. In particular, by elucidating the effects of frequency on the scale of acoustically driven flows, we show that the choice of frequency is a vitally important consideration in the design of small-scale devices employing acoustic streaming for microfluidics.
Article
In nerve-smooth muscle preparations beta-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (beta-NAD) has emerged as a novel extracellular substance with putative neurotransmitter and neuromodulator functions. beta-NAD is released, along with noradrenaline and adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), upon firing of action potentials in blood vessels, urinary bladder and large intestine. At present it is unclear whether noradrenaline, ATP and beta-NAD are stored in and released from common populations of synaptic vesicles. The answer is unattainable in complex systems such as nerve-smooth muscle preparations. Adrenal chromaffin cells are thus used here as a single-cell model to examine mechanisms of concomitant neurosecretion. Using high-performance liquid chromatography techniques with electrochemical and fluorescence detection we simultaneously evaluated secretion of dopamine (DA), ATP, adenosine 5'-diphosphate, adenosine 5'-monophosphate, adenosine, beta-NAD and its immediate metabolites ADP-ribose and cyclic ADP-ribose in superfused nerve growth factor-differentiated rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. beta-NAD, DA and ATP were released constitutively and upon stimulation with high-K(+) solution or nicotine. Botulinum neurotoxin A tended to increase the spontaneous secretion of all substances and abolished the high-K(+)-evoked release of beta-NAD and DA but not of ATP. Subcellular fractionation by continuous glycerol and sucrose gradients along with immunoblot analysis of the vesicular marker proteins synaptophysin and secretogranin II revealed that beta-NAD, ATP and DA are stored in both small synaptic-like vesicles and large dense-core-like vesicles. However, the three substances appear to have different preferential sites of release upon membrane depolarization including sites associated with SNAP-25 and sites not associated with SNAP-25.
Article
A key issue in signal transduction is how signaling pathways common to many systems—so-called canonical signaling cassettes—integrate signals from molecules having a wide spectrum of activities, such as hormones and neurotrophins, to deliver distinct biological outcomes. The neuroendocrine cell line PC12, derived from rat pheochromocytoma, provides an example of how one canonical signaling cassette—the Raf → mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) → extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway—can promote distinct outcomes, which in this case include neuritogenesis, gene induction, and proliferation. Two growth hormones, epidermal growth factor (EGF) and nerve growth factor (NGF), use the same pathway to cause PC12 proliferation and differentiation, respectively. In addition, pituitary adenylate cyclase–activating polypeptide (PACAP), a neurotransmitter that also causes differentiation, uses the same canonical cassette as NGF but in a different way. The Connections Map for PC12 Cell Differentiation brings into focus the complex array of specific cellular responses that rely on canonical signal transduction systems.
Article
Interest in brain stimulation therapies has been rejuvenated over the last decade and brain stimulation therapy has become an alternative treatment for many neurological and psychiatric disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD), dystonia, pain, epilepsy, depression, and schizophrenia. The effects of brain stimulation on PD are well described, and this treatment has been widely used for such conditions worldwide. Treatments for other conditions are still in experimental stages and large-scale, well controlled studies are needed to refine the treatment procedures. In the treatment of intractable brain disorders, brain stimulation, especially transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), is an attractive alternative to surgical lesioning as it is relatively safe, reversible, and flexible. Brain stimulation, delivered either via deeply implanted electrodes or from a surface-mounted transcranial magnetic device, can alter abnormal neural circuits underlying brain disorders. The neural mechanisms mediating the beneficial effects of brain stimulation, however, are poorly understood. Conflicting theories and experimental data have been presented. It seems that the action of stimulation on brain circuitry is not limited to simple excitation or inhibition. Alterations of neural firing patterns and long-term effects on neurotransmitter and receptor systems may also play important roles in the therapeutic effects of brain stimulation. Future research on both the basic and clinical fronts will deepen our understanding of how brain stimulation works. Real-time computation of neural activity allows for integration of brain stimulation signals into ongoing neural processing. In this way abnormal circuit activity can be adjusted by optimal therapeutic brain stimulation paradigms.
Article
In vitro techniques are used increasingly to screen for and characterize neurotoxicants. In many cases, chemical-induced injury to developing neurons has been examined in vitro by assessing morphological changes in differentiation and neurite growth. This research evaluated the use of proteins associated with axonal growth and synaptogenesis as surrogates for morphological measurement of neuronal differentiation. PC12 cells, which differentiate upon nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulation, were used as the in vitro model. NGF-induced (50 ng/ml) differentiation (cells with at least one neurite with a length equal to the cell body diameter) and neurite growth (length of longest neurite) were determined using light microscopy and computer-based quantitative image analysis. PC12 cell differentiation and neurite growth reached a plateau after 6 days in culture. Expression of the axonal growth associated protein 43 (GAP-43) and the synaptic protein synapsin I were assessed simultaneously by Western blot during cell differentiation. Expression of GAP-43 was low on Culture Day 0 and increased progressively to maximum levels on Culture Day 5. Likewise, synapsin I expression increased slowly on Days 0-4, and then rapidly on Days 5-7 of culture. Pharmacologic inhibitors of NGF-induced signaling were used to test the sensitivity of the proteins to chemical disruption of differentiation. The MAP kinase inhibitor, U0126 (5-30 microM) and the PKC inhibitor, bisindolylmaleimide I (Bis I; 1.25-5 microM) inhibited differentiation and neurite outgrowth in a concentration-dependent manner. U0126 and Bis I significantly decreased GAP-43, but not synapsin I expression. Interestingly, the PI-PLC inhibitor edelfosine (ET-18; 5-30 microM) stimulated differentiation at early times of exposure followed by a significant decrease in neurite length at later time points. However, ET-18 did not alter the expression of GAP-43 or synapsin I. These data suggest that GAP-43 may be a useful indicator of the status of PC12 cell differentiation.
Article
Microenvironments appear important in stem cell lineage specification but can be difficult to adequately characterize or control with soft tissues. Naive mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are shown here to specify lineage and commit to phenotypes with extreme sensitivity to tissue-level elasticity. Soft matrices that mimic brain are neurogenic, stiffer matrices that mimic muscle are myogenic, and comparatively rigid matrices that mimic collagenous bone prove osteogenic. During the initial week in culture, reprogramming of these lineages is possible with addition of soluble induction factors, but after several weeks in culture, the cells commit to the lineage specified by matrix elasticity, consistent with the elasticity-insensitive commitment of differentiated cell types. Inhibition of nonmuscle myosin II blocks all elasticity-directed lineage specification-without strongly perturbing many other aspects of cell function and shape. The results have significant implications for understanding physical effects of the in vivo microenvironment and also for therapeutic uses of stem cells.