Process entanglement as a neuronal anchorage mechanism to rough surfaces

Raya Sorkin*, Alon Greenbaum, Moshe David-Pur, Sarit Anava, Amir Ayali, Eshel Ben-Jacob, Yael Hanein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organization of neurons and glia cells on substrates composed of pristine carbon nanotube islands was investigated using high resolution scanning electron microscopy, immunostaining and confocal microscopy. Neurons were found bound and preferentially anchored to the rough surfaces; moreover, the morphology of the neuronal processes on the small, isolated islands of high density carbon nanotubes was found to be conspicuously curled and entangled. We further demonstrate that the roughness of the surface must match the diameter of the neuronal processes in order to allow them to bind. The results presented here suggest that entanglement, a mechanical effect, may constitute an additional mechanism by which neurons (and possibly other cell types) anchor themselves to rough surfaces. Understanding the nature of the interface between neurons and carbon nanotubes is essential to effectively harness carbon nanotube technology in neurological applications such as neuro-prosthetic and retinal electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015101
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2009


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