Frontiers in Neuroscience (Jan 2018)

Peripheral Neuron Survival and Outgrowth on Graphene

  • Domenica Convertino,
  • Domenica Convertino,
  • Stefano Luin,
  • Laura Marchetti,
  • Camilla Coletti

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12


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Graphene displays properties that make it appealing for neuroregenerative medicine, yet its interaction with peripheral neurons has been scarcely investigated. Here, we culture on graphene two established models for peripheral neurons: PC12 cells and DRG primary neurons. We perform a nano-resolved analysis of polymeric coatings on graphene and combine optical microscopy and viability assays to assess the material cytocompatibility and influence on differentiation. We find that differentiated PC12 cells display a remarkably increased neurite length on graphene (up to 27%) with respect to controls. Notably, DRG primary neurons survive both on bare and coated graphene. They present dense axonal networks on coated graphene, while they form cell islets characterized by dense axonal bundles on uncoated graphene. These findings indicate that graphene holds potential for nerve tissue regeneration and might pave the road to novel concepts of active nerve conduits.