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This paper explores the long term development of networks of glia and neurons on patterns of Parylene-C on a SiO(2) substrate. We harvested glia and neurons from the Sprague-Dawley (P1-P7) rat hippocampus and utilized an established cell patterning technique in order to investigate cellular migration, over the course of 3 weeks. This work demonstrates that uncontrolled glial mitosis gradually disrupts cellular patterns that are established early during culture. This effect is not attributed to a loss of protein from the Parylene-C surface, as nitrogen levels on the substrate remain stable over 3 weeks. The inclusion of the anti-mitotic cytarabine (Ara-C) in the culture medium moderates glial division and thus, adequately preserves initial glial and neuronal conformity to underlying patterns. Neuronal apoptosis, often associated with the use of Ara-C, is mitigated by the addition of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We believe that with the right combination of glial inhibitors and neuronal promoters, the Parylene-C based cell patterning method can generate structured, active neural networks that can be sustained and investigated over extended periods of time. To our knowledge this is the first report on the concurrent application of Ara-C and BDNF on patterned cell cultures.
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