Publication Details

Stewart, E., Kobayashi, N. R., Higgins, M. J., Quigley, A. F., Jamali , S., Moulton, S. E., Kapsa, R. M. I., Wallace, G. G. & Crook, J. M. (2015). Electrical stimulation using conductive polymer polypyrrole promotes differentiation of human neural stem cells: a biocompatible platform for translational neural tissue engineering. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 21 (4), 385-393.


Conductive polymers (CPs) are organic materials that hold great promise for biomedicine. Potential applications include in vitro or implantable electrodes for excitable cell recording and stimulation, and conductive scaffolds for cell support and tissue engineering. Here we demonstrate the utility of electroactive CP Polypyrrole (PPy) containing the anionic dopant dodecylbenzenesulfonate (DBS) to differentiate novel clinically relevant human neural stem cells (hNSCs). Electrical stimulation of PPy(DBS) induced hNSCs to predominantly β-III Tubulin (Tuj1) expressing neurons, with lower induction of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expressing glial cells. In addition, stimulated cultures comprised nodes or clusters of neurons with longer neurites and greater branching than unstimulated cultures. Cell clusters showed a similar spatial distribution to regions of higher conductivity on the film surface. Our findings support the use of electrical stimulation to promote neuronal induction and the biocompatibility of PPy(DBS) with hNSCs, and opens up the possibility of identifying novel mechanisms of fate determination of differentiating human stem cells for advanced in vitro modelling, translational drug discovery and regenerative medicine.



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