Nano Research

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 2532–2543 | Cite as

Strong contact coupling of neuronal growth cones with height-controlled vertical silicon nanocolumns

  • Seong-Min Kim
  • Seyeong Lee
  • Dongyoon Kim
  • Dong-Hee Kang
  • Kisuk Yang
  • Seung-Woo Cho
  • Jin Seok Lee
  • Insung S. Choi
  • Kyungtae Kang
  • Myung-Han Yoon
Research Article


In this study, we report that height-controlled vertically etched silicon nano-column arrays (vSNAs) induce strong growth cone-to-substrate coupling and accelerate In vitroneurite development while preserving the essential features of initial neurite formation. Large-scale preparation of vSNAs with flat head morphology enabled the generation of well-controlled topographical stimulation without cellular impalement. A systematic analysis on topography-induced variations on cellular morphology and cytoskeletal dynamics was conducted. In addition, neurite development on the grid-patterned vSNAs exhibited preferential adhesion to the nanostructured region and outgrowth directionality. The arrangement of cytoskeletal proteins and the expression of a focal adhesion complex indicated that a strong coupling existed between the underlying nanocolumns and growth cones. Furthermore, the height-controlled nanocolumn substrates differentially modulated neurite polarization and elongation. Our findings provide an important insight into neuron-nanotopography interactions and their role in cell adhesion and neurite development.


vertical silicon nanostructures metal-assisted chemical etching primary hippocampal neurons neurite outgrowth cytoskeletal dynamics 


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This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program and the Pioneer Research Center Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (Nos. NRF-2013R1A1A107-6103, NRF-2012R1A3A2026403, and NRF-2012-000-9664), and also by the GIST Research Institute (GRI) in 2016.

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Strong contact coupling of neuronal growth cones withheight-controlled vertical silicon nanocolumns
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Supplementary material, approximately 1.30 MB.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seong-Min Kim
    • 1
  • Seyeong Lee
    • 1
  • Dongyoon Kim
    • 1
  • Dong-Hee Kang
    • 1
  • Kisuk Yang
    • 2
  • Seung-Woo Cho
    • 2
  • Jin Seok Lee
    • 3
  • Insung S. Choi
    • 4
  • Kyungtae Kang
    • 5
  • Myung-Han Yoon
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringGwangju Institute of Science and TechnologyGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyYonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of ChemistrySookmyung Women’s UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research, Department of ChemistryKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Applied ChemistryKyung Hee UniversityYongin, GyeonggiRepublic of Korea

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