‘Neuron-reading’ Nanowires Could Accelerate Development of Drugs to Treat Neurological Diseases

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A group led by engineers during a University of California San Diego has grown nanowires that can record a electrical activity of neurons in excellent detail. The new nanowire record could one day offer as a height to shade drugs for neurological diseases and could capacitate researchers to improved know how singular cells promulgate in vast neuronal networks.

“We’re building collection that will concede us to puncture deeper into a scholarship of how a mind works,” pronounced Shadi Dayeh, an electrical engineering highbrow during a UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and a team’s lead investigator.

“We prognosticate that this nanowire record could be used on stem-cell-derived mind models to brand a many effective drugs for neurological diseases,” pronounced Anne Bang, executive of dungeon biology during a Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics during a Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute.

The plan was a collaborative bid between a Dayeh and Bang labs, neurobiologists during UC San Diego, and researchers during Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Sandia National Laboratories. The researchers published their work in Nano Letters.

Colorized SEM picture of a nanowire array. Photos by Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Laboratory, UC San Diego

Researchers can expose sum about a neuron’s health, activity and response to drugs by measuring ion channel currents and changes in a intracellular potential, that is due to a disproportion in ion thoroughness between a inside and outward of a cell. The state-of-the-art dimensions technique is supportive to tiny intensity changes and provides readings with high signal-to-noise ratios. However, this routine is mortal — it can mangle a dungeon surface and eventually kill a cell. It is also singular to examining customarily one dungeon during a time, creation it unreal for study vast networks of neurons, that are how they are naturally organised in a body.

“Existing high attraction dimensions techniques are not scalable to 2D and 3D tissue-like structures well-bred in vitro,” Dayeh said. “The growth of a nanoscale record that can bulk fast and notation intensity changes in neuronal mobile networks could accelerate drug growth for diseases of a executive and marginal shaken systems.”

The nanowire record grown in Dayeh’s laboratory is nondestructive and can concurrently bulk intensity changes in mixed neurons — with a high attraction and fortitude achieved by a stream state of a art.

The device consists of an array of silicon nanowires densely packaged on a tiny chip patterned with nickel electrode leads that are coated with silica. The nanowires poke inside cells though deleterious them and are supportive adequate to bulk tiny intensity changes that are a fragment of or a few millivolts in magnitude. Researchers used a nanowires to record a electrical activity of neurons that were removed from mice and subsequent from tellurian prompted pluripotent branch cells. These neurons survived and continued functioning for during slightest 6 weeks while interfaced with a nanowire array in vitro.

Colorized SEM picture of a neuron (orange) interfaced with a nanowire array. Credit: UC San Diego

Another innovative underline of this record is it can besiege a electrical vigilance totalled by any particular nanowire. “This is surprising in existent nanowire technologies, where several wires are electrically shorted together and we can't compute a vigilance from each singular wire,” Dayeh said.

To overcome this hurdle, researchers invented a new wafer fastening proceed to compound a silicon nanowires to a nickel electrodes. Their proceed concerned a routine called silicidation, that is a greeting that binds dual solids (silicon and another metal) together though melting possibly material. This routine prevents a nickel electrodes from liquidizing, swelling out and shorting adjacent electrode leads.

Silicidation is customarily used to make contacts to transistors, though this is a initial time it is being used to do patterned wafer bonding, Dayeh said. “And given this routine is used in semiconductor device fabrication, we can confederate versions of these nanowires with CMOS electronics.” Dayeh’s laboratory binds several tentative obvious applications for this technology.

Dayeh remarkable that a record needs serve optimization for brain-on-chip drug screening. His group is operative to extend a focus of a record to heart-on-chip drug screening for cardiac diseases and in vivo mind mapping, that is still several years divided due to poignant technological and biological hurdles that a researchers need to overcome. “Our ultimate idea is to interpret this record to a device that can be ingrained in a brain.”

Source: UC San Diego

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