Interaction of glia with a compliant, microstructured silicone surface
Soft bioengineered surfaces offer a route towards modulating the tissue responses to chronically implanted devices and may enhance their functionality. In this communication we fabricate microtopographically rich and mechanically compliant silicone surfaces for use in soft neural interfaces. We observe the interaction of primary rat microglia and astroglia with arrays of tall and short (4.7 and 0.5 mu m) vertically oriented polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) micropillars and a flat PDMS surface in vitro. With the pillar size and spacing that we use (1.3 mu m diameter and 1.6 mu m edge to edge), glia are found to engulf and bend tall pillars. The cytoskeleton of cells adhering to the pillar arrays lacks actin stress fibers; instead we observe actin ring formations around individual pillars. Tall, but not short pillar arrays are inhibitory to migration and spreading for both microglia and astrocytes. When compared to a flat PDMS surface and short pillar arrays, tall micropillar arrays cause nearly a 2-fold decrease in proliferation rates for both cell types. The antimitotic properties of tall pillar arrays may be useful for reducing the density of the glial capsule around brain-implanted devices. (C) 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.