Substrates for neuron culture and implantation are required to be both biocompatible and display surface compositions that support cell attachment, growth, differentiation, and neural activity. Laminin, a naturally occurring extracellular matrix protein is the most widely used substrate for neuron culture and fulfills some of these requirements, however, it is expensive, unstable (compared to synthetic materials), and prone to batch-to-batch variation. This study uses a high-throughput polymer screening approach to identify synthetic polymers that supports the in vitro culture of primary mouse cerebellar neurons. This allows the identification of materials that enable primary cell attachment with high viability even under “serum-free” conditions, with materials that support both primary cells and neural progenitor cell attachment with high levels of neuronal biomarker expression, while promoting progenitor cell maturation to neurons.
Y.Z., G.A.H., and S.V. contributed equally to this work. The authors thank European Research Council (Advanced Grant ADREEM ERC-2013-340469), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-VENI-STW-13075), the Dutch Organization for Medical Sciences, Life Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences for funding and Dr. Alison McDonald for assistance with AFM.