NeuroArray: a universal interface for patterning and interrogating neural circuitry with single cell resolution.

Scientific reports

PubMedID: 24759264

Li W, Xu Z, Huang J, Lin X, Luo R, Chen CH, Shi P. NeuroArray: a universal interface for patterning and interrogating neural circuitry with single cell resolution. Sci Rep. 2014;44784.
Recreation of neural network in vitro with designed topology is a valuable tool to decipher how neurons behave when interacting in hierarchical networks. In this study, we developed a simple and effective platform to pattern primary neurons in array formats for interrogation of neural circuitry with single cell resolution. Unlike many surface-chemistry-based patterning methods, our NeuroArray technique is specially designed to accommodate neuron's polarized morphologies to make regular arrays of cells without restricting their neurite outgrowth, and thus allows formation of freely designed, well-connected, and spontaneously active neural network. The NeuroArray device was based on a stencil design fabricated using a novel sacrificial-layer-protected PDMS molding method that enables production of through-structures in a thin layer of PDMS with feature sizes as small as 3 ┬Ám. Using the NeuroArray along with calcium imaging, we have successfully demonstrated large-scale tracking and recording of neuronal activities, and used such data to characterize the spiking dynamics and transmission within a diode-like neural network. Essentially, the NeuroArray is a universal patterning platform designed for, but not limited to neuron cells. With little adaption, it can be readily interfaced with other interrogation modalities for high-throughput drug testing, and for building neuron culture based live computational devices.