Jihwan Lee, University of California, San Diego
High Density, Individually Addressable Silicon-Based Nanowire Arrays Record Native Intracellular Activity from Primary Rodent Neurons without Electroporation
Written by Arun Kumar
Jihwan Lee from the University of California, San Diego says that many questions regarding neurons can be answered by looking at intracellular recordings from neurons and the neuronal networks. High spatiotemporal resolution and minimal invasiveness are essential requirements for understanding altered neuronal functions during diseased conditions and their response to drugs. The prevalently used method for probing intracellular potentials, the patch-clamp technique offers high signal fidelity but is limited in its throughput, scalability, and invasiveness. Planar microelectrode arrays can provide high throughput and a highly scalable process but are limited in their low signal fidelity. On the other hand, vertical nanowire arrays present an innovative nanoscale device providing high fidelity, throughput, and scalability.
Unlike prior nanoelectrode processes, Jihwan Lee states that their process does not involve any optoporation/electroporative technique to transiently permeate the cells and measure the intracellular potentials. This potentially helps reduce the damage caused to the cells. He states that their arrays can measure the native recording of graded potentials without attenuation of the signal amplitude during the experimentation. Increasing spike activity was recorded by the sensors during primary rat neuronal cell development and maturation. Lee also shows how the recorded spike activity and frequency of spikes vary during the addition of drugs. Apart from neurons, effective action potential measurements were also made from cultured cardiovascular progenitor cells. The non-electroporative, non-optoporative, sharp-nanowire array for intracellular sensing applications could be a cost-effective screening method for studying neuronal dynamics and neurological disease pathology.