Prof. Guosheng Cheng’s research group with the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech & Nano-Bionics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, firstly reported a new three-dimensional graphene foam as an active neuroscaffold for neural stem cell culture. This work has rencently been published in Scientific Reports (2013, 3,1604).
Graphene, 2-dimensional monolayer of carbon atoms, is a promising candidate for the ultrafast nanoelectronic devices, quantum computers, transparent electrodes, nanocomposite materials and biomedical materials, due to its instrincly novel thermal, mechanical and electronic properties. It has already been utilized in a variety of biomedical applications, such as cellular imaging and drug delivery, bio-analysis and even photothermal therapy for tumor.
Previous study from Cheng’s lab demonstrated that the CVD-grown graphene films have been the nature of an excellent biocompatibility for primary culture of mouse hippocampal neurons and of even promising capabilities to promote neurite sprouting and outgrowth, dramatically at the early stage of developmental phase (Biomaterials 2011, 32, 9374-9382).
Very recently, they reported the first utilization of a three-dimensional (3D) porous structure(3D-GFs), as a robust scaffold for NSC culture in vitro. It was found that 3D-GFs can not only support NSC growth, but also keep cells at a even more active proliferation state with an upregulation of Ki67 expression than that of 2D graphene films. Meanwhile, 3D-GFs can enhance the NSC differentiation towards astrocytes and especially neurons. In addition, 3D-GFs were proved as an efficient conductive platform to mediate electrical stimulation for differentiated NSCs. These findings implicate the great potential of 3D-GFs in NSC research, neural tissue engineering and neural prostheses.
This work was funded by MOST (Grant No. 2011CB965004), NSFC (Grant No.31101059), “Strategic Priority Research Program” from CAS (Grant No. XDA01030200).
Figure 1. Neurite sprouting and outgrowth of mouse hippocampal neurons on graphene film (Biomaterials 2011, 32, 9374-9382).(Image by SINANO)
Figure 2. NSC proliferation and differentiation on 3D-GF scaffold(Scientific Reports 2013, 3,1604).(Image by SINANO)