2, LLNL, Livermore, California, United States
Carbon-based aerogels prepared by organic sol-gel chemistry offer the ability to create a unique 3-D surface profile with control of pore distributions spanning both the nm and um size ranges The surface morphology, charge density, porosity, and bulk electric conductivity combines critical substrate/ scaffold parameters known to influence neuron attachment, proliferation, guidance, and growth noninvasively. The aim of this research was to (a) establish the methodology and processing techniques for culturing of PC 12 cells on carbon aerogels, (b) assess the integrity of the aerogel substrate after exposure to culture and fixing conditions and, (c) characterize and examine the effects of conductive carbon aerogel substrate on neurites. Here, PC 12 cells were stimulated with NGF, a growth factor essential for the survival, differentiation and functional activities of neurons in the peripheral and central nervous system. The neurite length, cell cluster size, and cell morphology and arrangement was compared between the two different surfaces (1) tissue culture plastic (control) and (2) carbon aerogels. Results were also compared with the response of PC 12 cells to polyurea crosslinked silica aerogels and will be reported in detail.