A Microchip for High-throughput Axon Growth Drug Screening.
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It has been recently known that not only the presence of inhibitory molecules associated with myelin but also the reduced growth capability of the axons limit mature central nervous system (CNS) axonal regeneration after injury. Conventional axon growth studies are typically conducted using multi-well cell culture plates that are very challenging to investigate localized effects of drugs and limited to low throughput. Unfortunately, there is currently no other in vitro tools that allow investigating localized axonal responses to biomolecules in high-throughput for screening potential drugs that might promote axonal growth. We have developed a compartmentalized neuron culture platform enabling localized biomolecular treatments in parallel to axons that are physically and fluidically isolated from their neuronal somata. The 24 axon compartments in the developed platform are designed to perform four sets of six different localized biomolecular treatments simultaneously on a single device. In addition, the novel microfluidic configuration allows culture medium of 24 axon compartments to be replenished altogether by a single aspiration process, making high-throughput drug screening a reality.