PEDOT Coated Thick Film Electrodes for In Situ Detection of Cell Adhesion in Cell Cultures

Biosensors (Basel). 2018 Nov 2;8(4):105. doi: 10.3390/bios8040105.


Low temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC) provide a technology for the 3-dimensional integration of sensor arrays into bioreactors covering dimensions of several hundred micrometers. Since optical control in such assemblies is not possible, the in situ detection of cell adhesion on impedance electrodes with high spatial resolution would deliver crucial information. A current limitation is the increasing impedance of microelectrodes with decreasing diameter. This study evaluates the suitability of thick film gold electrodes, pristine and coated with electropolymerized poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), for the detection of cell adhesion on the electrode surface. The impedance as criterion for cell attachment is measured with a recording system for electroactive cells with the aim of improving usability. Two cell cultures with different adhesion characteristic are used for adhesion assessment on planar test chips. The impedance increase measured on individual PEDOT coated electrodes due to tight contact of cells reaches a factor of 6.8 in cultures of well-adherent HepG2 cells. Less adhered NG108-15 cells produce a maximum impedance increase by a factor of 2.6. Since the electrode impedance is significantly reduced by PEDOT coating, a reduction of the electrode diameter to values below 100 µm and spatially resolved detection is possible. The results encourage further studies using PEDOT coated thick film electrodes as bio-electronic-interfaces. We presume that such miniaturized electrodes are suitable for 3-dimensional recordings in electroactive cell cultures, providing information of local cell adhesion at the same time.

Keywords: LTCC; PEDOT; cell adhesion; electroactive cells; impedance; in situ monitoring; in vitro cell culture; neuronal cells; spatial resolution; thick film electrodes.

MeSH terms

  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Electrodes*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Polymers / chemistry*


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Polymers
  • poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene)