Decreased astroglial cell adhesion and proliferation on zinc oxide nanoparticle polyurethane composites
Justin T Seil, Thomas J Webster
Laboratory for Nanomedicine Research, Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Abstract: Nanomaterials offer a number of properties that are of interest to the field of neural tissue engineering. Specifically, materials that exhibit nanoscale surface dimensions have been shown to promote neuron function while simultaneously minimizing the activity of cells such as astrocytes that inhibit central nervous system regeneration. Studies demonstrating enhanced neural tissue regeneration in electrical fields through the use of conductive materials have led to interest in piezoelectric materials (or those materials which generate a transient electrical potential when mechanically deformed) such as zinc oxide (ZnO). It has been speculated that ZnO nanoparticles possess increased piezoelectric properties over ZnO micron particles. Due to this promise in neural applications, the objective of the present in vitro study was, for the first time, to assess the activity of astroglial cells on ZnO nanoparticle polymer composites. ZnO nanoparticles embedded in polyurethane were analyzed via scanning electron microscopy to evaluate nanoscale surface features of the composites. The surface chemistry was characterized via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Astroglial cell response was evaluated based on cell adhesion and proliferation. Astrocyte adhesion was significantly reduced on ZnO nanoparticle/polyurethane (PU) composites with a weight ratio of 50:50 (PU:ZnO) wt.%, 75:25 (PU:ZnO) wt.%, and 90:10 (PU:ZnO) wt.% in comparison to pure PU. The successful production of ZnO nanoparticle composite scaffolds suitable for decreasing astroglial cell density demonstrates their potential as a nerve guidance channel material with greater efficiency than what may be available today.
Keywords: zinc oxide, nanoparticles, astrocytes, neural tissue, nervous system, biomaterials
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