Electrophysiological and morphological characterization of rat embryonic motoneurons in a defined system

Biotechnol Prog. Nov-Dec 2003;19(6):1756-61. doi: 10.1021/bp034076l.


In an attempt to integrate biological components with silicon-based devices and systems, artificial silane surfaces have been successfully used to grow motoneurons in a defined environment. In this study we characterized the morphology and electrophysiology of purified rat embryonic (E14) motoneurons grown on a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of N-1[3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl]diethylenetriamine (DETA) versus that on ornithine/laminin surfaces in serum-free media. On DETA motoneurons were flat and grew more processes, whereas on ornithine/laminin they tended to aggregate. The membrane time constant, a characteristic associated with electrotonic compactness, was significantly longer for motoneurons grown on DETA. Other electrophysiological parameters were similar for the motoneurons on the different surfaces. This is the first study where purified ventral horn motoneurons were cultured in a completely defined (nonbiological surface, serum-free) environment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Size
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • DEET / chemistry*
  • Laminin / chemistry
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Ornithine / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / embryology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Laminin
  • DEET
  • Ornithine