We investigate holographic optical tweezing combined with step-and-repeat maskless projection micro-stereolithography for fine control of 3D positioning of living cells within a 3D microstructured hydrogel grid. Samples were fabricated using three different cell lines; PC12, NT2/D1 and iPSC. PC12 cells are a rat cell line capable of differentiation into neuron-like cells NT2/D1 cells are a human cell line that exhibit biochemical and developmental properties similar to that of an early embryo and when exposed to retinoic acid the cells differentiate into human neurons useful for studies of human neurological disease. Finally induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) were utilized with the goal of future studies of neural networks fabricated from human iPSC derived neurons. Cells are positioned in the monomer solution with holographic optical tweezers at 1064 nm and then are encapsulated by photopolymerization of polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels formed by thiol-ene photo-click chemistry via projection of a 512x512 spatial light modulator (SLM) illuminated at 405 nm. Fabricated samples are incubated in differentiation media such that cells cease to divide and begin to form axons or axon-like structures. By controlling the position of the cells within the encapsulating hydrogel structure the formation of the neural circuits is controlled. The samples fabricated with this system are a useful model for future studies of neural circuit formation, neurological disease, cellular communication, plasticity, and repair mechanisms.
Anna Linnenberger, Robert R. McLeod, Tamara Basta, and Michael H. B. Stowell, "Three dimensional living neural networks," Proc. SPIE 9548, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XII, 95481O (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 12, 2015; Published: 28 August 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2191406.
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