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Embryonic stem (ES) cells provide a flexible and unlimited source for a variety of neuronal types. Because mature neurons establish neuronal networks very easily, we tested whether ES-derived neurons are capable of generating functional networks and whether these networks, generated in vitro, are capable of processing information. Single-cell(More)
Mechanical properties such as force generation are fundamental for neuronal motility, development and regeneration. We used optical tweezers to compare the force exerted by growth cones (GCs) of neurons from the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), such as Dorsal Root Ganglia (DRG) neurons, and from the Central Nervous System (CNS) such as hippocampal neurons.(More)
Guidance molecules, such as Sema3A or Netrin-1, induce growth cone (GC) repulsion or attraction. In order to determine the speed of action and efficiency of these guidance cues we developed an experimental procedure to deliver controlled amounts of these molecules. Lipid vesicles encapsulating 10-10(4) molecules of Sema3A or Netrin-1 were manipulated with(More)
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) provides the possibility to map the 3D structure of viewed objects with a nanometric resolution, which cannot be achieved with other imaging methods such as conventional video imaging and confocal fluorescent microscopy. Video imaging with CCD cameras can provide an analysis of biological events with a temporal and spatial(More)
Embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation in specific cell lineages is a major issue in cell biology particularly in regenerative medicine. Differentiation is usually achieved by using biochemical factors and it is not clear whether mechanical properties of the substrate over which cells are grown can affect proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, we(More)
The ability to control the differentiation of stem cells into specific neuronal types has a tremendous potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In vitro neuronal differentiation can be guided by the interplay of biochemical and biophysical cues. Different strategies to increase the differentiation yield have been proposed, focusing(More)
During early development of the central nervous system, there is an excessive outgrowth of neuronal projections, which later need to be refined to achieve precise connectivity. Axon pruning and degeneration are strategies used to remove exuberant neurites and connections in the immature nervous system to ensure the proper formation of functional circuitry.(More)
BACKGROUND Since different culturing parameters - such as media composition or cell density - lead to different experimental results, it is important to define the protocol used for neuronal cultures. The vital role of astrocytes in maintaining homeostasis of neurons - both in vivo and in vitro - is well established: the majority of improved culturing(More)
Guidance molecules, such as Sema3A or Netrin-1, can induce growth cone (GC) repulsion or attraction in the presence of a flat surface, but very little is known of the action of guidance molecules in the presence of obstacles. Therefore we combined chemical and mechanical cues by applying a steady Netrin-1 stream to the GCs of dissociated hippocampal neurons(More)