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Degradation of the electrospun silica nanofiber in a biological medium for primary hippocampal neuron – effect of surface modification

Authors Feng ZV, Chen WS, Keratithamkul K, Stoick M, Kapala B, Johnson E, Huang A, Chin TY, Chen-Yang Y, Yang M

Received 3 August 2015

Accepted for publication 9 December 2015

Published 26 February 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 729—741


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Z Vivian Feng,1,* Wen Shuo Chen,2,* Khomson Keratithamkul,1 Michael Stoick,1 Brittany Kapala,3 Eryn Johnson,3 An-Chi Huang,2 Ting Yu Chin,4 Yui Whei Chen-Yang,2 Mong-Lin Yang3

Chemistry Department, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 2Department of Chemistry, Center for Nanotechnology, Center for Biomedical Technology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan, Republic of China; 3Department of Science, Concordia University Saint Paul, Saint Paul, MN, USA; 4Department of Bioscience Technology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan, Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: In this work, silica nanofibers (SNFs) were prepared by an electrospinning method and modified with poly-D-lysine (PDL) or (3-aminopropyl) trimethoxysilane (APTS) making biocompatible and degradable substrates for neuronal growth. The as-prepared SNF, modified SNF-PDL, and SNF-APTS were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherms, contact angle measurements, and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Herein, the scanning electron microscopic images revealed that dissolution occurred in a corrosion-like manner by enlarging porous structures, which led to loss of structural integrity. In addition, covalently modified SNF-APTS with more hydrophobic surfaces and smaller surface areas resulted in significantly slower dissolution compared to SNF and physically modified SNF-PDL, revealing that different surface modifications can be used to tune the dissolution rate. Growth of primary hippocampal neuron on all substrates led to a slower dissolution rate. The three-dimensional SNF with larger surface area and higher surface density of the amino group promoted better cell attachment and resulted in an increased neurite density. This is the first known work addressing the degradability of SNF substrate in physiological conditions with neuron growth in vitro, suggesting a strong potential for the applications of the material in controlled drug release.

Keywords: silica nanofibers, electrospinning, dissolution, neurite density, surface modification

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