Nano-topography Enhances Communication in Neural Cells Networks

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 29;7(1):9841. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09741-w.


Neural cells are the smallest building blocks of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Information in neural networks and cell-substrate interactions have been heretofore studied separately. Understanding whether surface nano-topography can direct nerve cells assembly into computational efficient networks may provide new tools and criteria for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In this work, we used information theory approaches and functional multi calcium imaging (fMCI) techniques to examine how information flows in neural networks cultured on surfaces with controlled topography. We found that substrate roughness S a affects networks topology. In the low nano-meter range, S a = 0-30 nm, information increases with S a . Moreover, we found that energy density of a network of cells correlates to the topology of that network. This reinforces the view that information, energy and surface nano-topography are tightly inter-connected and should not be neglected when studying cell-cell interaction in neural tissue repair and regeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Communication*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Calcium