Surface-Functionalized Conducting Nanofibers for Electrically Stimulated Neural Cell Function

Rajiv Borah, Ganesh Ingavle, Ashok Kumar, Susan Sandeman, Sergey Mikhalovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strategies involving the inclusion of cell-instructive chemical and topographical cues to smart biomaterials in combination with a suitable physical stimulus may be beneficial to enhance nerve-regeneration rate. In this regard, we investigated the surface functionalization of poly[2-methoxy-5-(2-ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MEH-PPV)-based electroconductive electrospun nanofibers coupled with externally applied electrical stimulus for accelerated neuronal growth potential. In addition, the voltage-dependent conductive mechanism of the nanofibers was studied in depth to interlink intrinsic conductive properties with electrically stimulated neuronal expressions. Surface functionalization was accomplished using 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) and 1,6-hexanediamine (HDA) as an alternative to costly biomolecule coating (e.g., collagen) for cell adhesion. The nanofibers were uniform, porous, electrically conductive, mechanically strong, and stable under physiological conditions. Surface amination boosted biocompatibility, 3T3 cell adhesion, and spreading, while the neuronal model rat PC12 cell line showed better differentiation on surface-functionalized mats compared to nonfunctionalized mats. When coupled with electrical stimulation (ES), these mats showed comparable or faster neurite formation and elongation than the collagen-coated mats with no-ES conditions. The findings indicate that surface amination in combination with ES may provide an improved strategy to faster nerve regeneration using MEH-PPV-based neural scaffolds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-611
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • Electrospinning;
  • Surface functionalization; Electrical stimulation; Nerve repair
  • Electrical stimulation
  • nerve repair


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