Neurothreads: Development of supportive carriers for mature dopaminergic neuron differentiation and implantation

Biomaterials. 2021 Mar:270:120707. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120707. Epub 2021 Feb 2.


In this study we present the use of elastic macroporous cryogels for differentiation and transplantation of mature neurons. We develop a coating suitable for long-term neuronal culture, including stem cell differentiation, by covalent immobilization of neural adhesion proteins. In the context of cell therapy for Parkinson's disease, we show compatibility with established dopaminergic differentiation of both immortalized mesencephalic progenitors - LUHMES - and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). We adjust structural properties of the biomaterial to create carriers - Neurothreads - favourable for cell viability during transplantation. Finally, we show feasibility of preservation of mature neurons, supported by Neurothreads, one month after in-vivo transplantation. Preliminary data suggests that the Neurothread approach could provide more mature and less proliferative cells in vivo.

Keywords: Cryogel scaffold; Hydrogel functionalization; In-vivo neuronal transplantation; Parkinson's disease; Stem cell differentiation; Stereotactic injection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dopaminergic Neurons*
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon
  • Neurogenesis
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy