American Chemical Society
nn1c10750_si_001.pdf (7.2 MB)

Nanoscale Patterning of In Vitro Neuronal Circuits

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-11, 16:09 authored by José C. Mateus, Sean Weaver, Dirk van Swaay, Aline F. Renz, Julian Hengsteler, Paulo Aguiar, János Vörös
Methods for patterning neurons in vitro have gradually improved and are used to investigate questions that are difficult to address in or ex vivo. Though these techniques guide axons between groups of neurons, multiscale control of neuronal connectivity, from circuits to synapses, is yet to be achieved in vitro. As studying neuronal circuits with synaptic resolution in vivo poses significant challenges, we present an in vitro alternative to validate biophysical and computational models. In this work we use a combination of electron beam lithography and photolithography to create polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) structures with features ranging from 150 nm to a few millimeters. Leveraging the difference between average axon and dendritic spine diameters, we restrict axon growth while allowing spines to pass through nanochannels to guide synapse formation between small groups of neurons (i.e., nodes). We show this technique can be used to generate large numbers of isolated feed-forward circuits where connections between nodes are restricted to regions connected by nanochannels. Using a genetically encoded calcium indicator in combination with fluorescently tagged postsynaptic protein, PSD-95, we demonstrate functional synapses can form in this region.