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Robust Induced Presynapse on Artificial Substrates as a Neural Interfacing Method

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2019, 00:00 by Joohee Jeon, Min-Ah Oh, Wonkyung Cho, Sun-Heui Yoon, Ji Yong Kim, Taek Dong Chung
Over the recent years, the development of neural interface systems has stuck to using electrical cues to stimulate neurons and read out neural signals, although neurons relay signals via chemical release and recognition at synapses. In addition, conventional neural interfaces are vulnerable to cell migration and glial encapsulation due to the absence of connection anchoring the neuron into the device unlike synapses, which are firmly sustained by protein bonding. To close this discrepancy, we conducted an intensive investigation into the induced synapse interface by employing engineered synaptic proteins from a neural interface perspective. The strong potential of induced synaptic differentiation as an emerging neural interfacing technique is demonstrated by exploring its structural features, chemical release kinetics, robustness, and scalability to the brain tissue. We show that the exocytosis kinetics of induced synapses is similar to that of endogenous synapses. Moreover, induced synapses show remarkable stability, despite cell migration and growth. The synapse-inducing technique has broad applications to cultured hippocampal and cortex tissues and suggests a promising method to integrate neural circuits with digital elements.

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