Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires have been widely studied for their applications in electronics, optics, and catalysts. Their semiconducting, piezoelectric, fluorescent, and antibacterial properties have also attracted broad interest in their biomedical applications. Thus, it is imperative to evaluate the biosafety of ZnO nanowires and their biological effects. In this study, the cellular level biological effects of ZnO nanowire arrays are specifically tested on three types of excitable cells, including NG108-15 neuronal cell line, HL-1 cardiac muscle cell line, and neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Vertically aligned and densely packed ZnO nanowire arrays are synthesized using a solution-based method and used as a substrate for cell culture. The metabolism levels of all three types of cells cultured on ZnO nanowire arrays are studied using the 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H
-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays of a full factorial design. Under the studied settings, the results show statistically significant inhibitory effects of ZnO nanowire arrays on the metabolism of NG108-15 and HL-1 cells in comparison to gold, glass, and polystyrene substrates, and on the metabolism of cardiomyocytes in comparison to gold substrate.
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