Epoxy-silane linking of biomolecules is simple and effective for patterning neuronal cultures

Biosens Bioelectron. 2006 Dec 15;22(5):589-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2006.01.027. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


Surface chemistry is one of the main factors that contributes to the longevity and compliance of cell patterning. Two to three weeks are required for dissociated, embryonic rat neuronal cultures to mature to the point that they regularly produce spontaneous and evoked responses. Though proper surface chemistry can be achieved through the use of covalent protein attachment, often it is not maintainable for the time periods necessary to study neuronal growth. Here we report a new and effective covalent linking approach using (3-glycidoxypropyl) trimethoxysilane (3-GPS) for creating long term neuronal patterns. Micrometer scale patterns of cell adhesive proteins were formed using microstamping; hippocampal neurons, cultured up to 1 month, followed those patterns. Cells did not grow on unmodified 3-GPS surfaces, producing non-permissive regions for the long-term cell patterning. Patterned neuronal networks were formed on two different types of MEA (polyimide or silicon nitride insulation) and maintained for 3 weeks. Even though the 3-GPS layer increased the impedance of metal electrodes by a factor of 2-3, final impedance levels were low enough that low noise extracellular recordings were achievable. Spontaneous neural activity was recorded as early as 10 days in vitro. Neural recording and stimulation were readily achieved from these networks. Our results showed that 3-GPS could be used on surfaces to immobilize biomolecules for a variety of neural engineering applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Silanes / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Silanes