3D Porous Liquid Crystal Elastomer Foams Supporting Long-term Neuronal Cultures
New Publication by Taizo Mori, Richard Cukelj, Marianne Estelle Prévôt, Senay Ustunel, Anna Story, Yunxiang Gao, Karene Diabre, Jennifer Ann McDonough, Ernest Johnson Freeman, Elda Hegmann, and Robert John Clements
3D liquid crystal elastomer (3D-LCE) foams are used to support long-term neuronal cultures for over 60 days. Sequential imaging shows that cell density remains relatively constant throughout the culture period while the number of cells per observational area increases. In a subset of samples, retinoic acid is used to stimulate extensive neuritic outgrowth and maturation of prolifer-ated neurons within the LCEs, inducing a threefold increase in length with cells displaying morphologies indicative of mature neurons. Designed LCEs’ micro-channels have a similar diameter to endogenous parenchymal arteri-oles, ensuring that neurons throughout the construct have constant access to growth media during extended experiments. Here it is shown that 3D-LCEs provide a unique environment and simple method to longitudinally study spatial neuronal function, not possible in conventional culture environments, with simplistic integration into existing methodological pipelines.