Synergy of Nanotopography and Electrical Conductivity of PEDOT/PSS for Enhanced Neuronal Development

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2023 Dec 27;15(51):59224-59235. doi: 10.1021/acsami.3c15278. Epub 2023 Dec 13.


Biomaterials able to promote neuronal development and neurite outgrowth are highly desired in neural tissue engineering for the repair of damaged or disrupted neural tissue and restoring the axonal connection. For this purpose, the use of either electroactive or micro- and nanostructured materials has been separately investigated. Here, the use of a nanomodulated conductive poly(3,4-ethylendioxithiophene) poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT/PSS) substrate that exhibits instructive topographical and electrical cues at the same time was investigated for the first time. In particular, thin films featuring grooves with sizes comparable with those of neuronal neurites (NanoPEDOT) were fabricated by electrochemical polymerization of PEDOT/PSS on a nanomodulated polycarbonate template. The ability of NanoPEDOT to support neuronal development and direct neurite outgrowth was demonstrated by assessing cell viability and proliferation, expression of neuronal markers, average neurite length, and direction of neuroblastoma N2A cells induced to differentiate on this novel support. In addition to the beneficial effect of the nanogrooved topography, a 30% increase was shown in the average length of neurites when differentiating cells were subjected to an electrical stimulation of a few microamperes for 6 h. The results reported here suggest a favorable effect on the neuronal development of the synergistic combination of nanotopography and electrical stimulation, supporting the use of NanoPEDOT in neural tissue engineering to promote physical and functional reconnection of impaired neural networks.

Keywords: atomic force microscopy; electrical stimulation; neural cells; neurite outgrowth; surface nanomodulation.

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Neurites / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Neurons*


  • Biocompatible Materials