Three-dimensional functional human neuronal networks in uncompressed low-density electrospun fiber scaffolds

Albin Jakobsson, Maximilian Ottosson, Marina Castro Zalis, David O'Carroll, Ulrica Englund Johansson, Per Fredrik Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We demonstrate an artificial three-dimensional (3D) electrical active human neuronal network system, by the growth of brain neural progenitors in highly porous low density electrospun poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) fiber scaffolds. In neuroscience research cell-based assays are important experimental instruments for studying neuronal function in health and disease. Traditional cell culture at 2D-surfaces induces abnormal cell-cell contacts and network formation. Hence, there is a tremendous need to explore in vivo-resembling 3D neural cell culture approaches. We present an improved electrospinning method for fabrication of scaffolds that promote neuronal differentiation into highly 3D integrated networks, formation of inhibitory and excitatory synapses and extensive neurite growth. Notably, in 3D scaffolds in vivo-resembling intermixed neuronal and glial cell network were formed, whereas in parallel 2D cultures a neuronal cell layer grew separated from an underlying glial cell layer. Hence, the use of the 3D cell assay presented will most likely provide more physiological relevant results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1573
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date2017 Jan 5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cell and Molecular Biology

Free keywords

  • Journal Article


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