Microchannel patterning strategies for in vitro structural connectivity modulation of neural networks

  • May 5, 2020
  • Laura Ejarque
  • 1 min read


Compartmentalized microfluidic chips have demonstrated tremendous potential to create in vitro minimalistic environments for the reproduction of the neural circuitry of the brain. Although the protocol for seeding neural soma in these devices is well known and has been widely used in myriad studies, the accurate control of the number of neurites passing through the microchannels remains challenging. However, the regulation of axonal density among different groups of neurons is still a requirement to assess the inherent structural connectivity between neuronal populations. In this work, we report the effect of microchannel patterning strategies on the modulation of neuronal connectivity by applying dimensional modifications on microchannel-connected microfluidic chambers. Our results show that those strategies can modulate the direction and the number of neuronal projections of passage, therefore regulating the strength of the structural connections between two populations of neurons. With this approach, we provide innovative microfluidic design rules for the engineering of in vitro physiologically relevant neural networks.