Publication Details

Zhang, Q., Esrafilzadeh, D., Crook, J. M., Kapsa, R., Stewart, E. M., Tomaskovic-Crook, E., Wallace, G. G. & Huang, X. (2017). Electrical stimulation using conductive polymer polypyrrole counters reduced neurite outgrowth of primary prefrontal cortical neurons from NRG1-KO and DISC1-LI mice. Scientific Reports, 7 42525 -1-42525 -8.


Deficits in neurite outgrowth, possibly involving dysregulation of risk genes neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) have been implicated in psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. Electrical stimulation using conductive polymers has been shown to stimulate neurite outgrowth of differentiating human neural stem cells. This study investigated the use of the electroactive conductive polymer polypyrrole (Ppy) to counter impaired neurite outgrowth of primary pre-frontal cortical (PFC) neurons from NRG1-knock out (NRG1-KO) and DISC1-locus impairment (DISC1-LI) mice. Whereas NRG1-KO and DISC1-LI exhibited reduced neurite length and number of neurite branches compared to wild-type controls, this was not apparent for cultures on electroactive Ppy. Additionally, the use of the Ppy substrate normalised the synaptophysin and PSD95 protein and mRNA expression whereas both are usually reduced by NRG1-KO or DISC1-LI. Our findings support the utility of Ppy mediated electrical stimulation to prevent the reduction of neurite outgrowth and related synaptic protein expression in the primary PFC neurons from NRG1-KO and DISC1-LI mice, providing proof-of-concept for treating neurodevelopmental diseases including schizophrenia.

Grant Number


Grant Number