Understanding the mechanisms underlying cell-surface interaction is of fundamental importance for the rational design of scaffolds aiming at tissue engineering, tissue repair and neural regeneration applications. Here, we examined patterns of neuroblastoma cells cultured in three-dimensional polymeric scaffolds obtained by two-photon lithography. Because of the intrinsic resolution of the technique, the micrometric cylinders composing the scaffold have a lateral step size of ~200 nm, a surface roughness of around 20 nm, and large values of fractal dimension approaching 2.7. We found that cells in the scaffold assemble into separate groups with many elements per group. After cell wiring, we found that resulting networks exhibit high clustering, small path lengths, and small-world characteristics. These values of the topological characteristics of the network can potentially enhance the quality, quantity and density of information transported in the network compared to equivalent random graphs of the same size. This is one of the first direct observations of cells developing into 3D small-world networks in an artificial matrix.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • 3D networks, biomaterials, nano-topography, network topology, neuro-regeneration, small-world networks, tissue engineering, two-photon lithography

ID: 62167052