Special Issue "Microfluidic Platforms for the Nervous System"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "B:Biology and Biomedicine".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 2470

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Maribel Vazquez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, 599 Taylor Rd, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
Interests: neuronal-glial interactions; retinal stem cell therapy; microfluidic clinical testing systems

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

An exciting array of microfluidic systems has been developed to examine multifaceted biological applications, including organism development, tissue engineering, disease modelling, and regenerative medicine. Key advantages of microfluidics include the manipulation of heterogeneous groups of cells, in vitro environments that recreate anatomical features at physiological scale, and precise control of desired extracellular cues and stimuli. Microfluidics thereby provide a unique experimental platform to examine fundamental processes in the mature nervous system, arguably a most complex physiological system whose functional responses depend upon integrated cellular behaviors. While established microdevices have examined neuronal behaviors within a variety of developmental, co/culture and compartmentalized conditions, the community is in need of microfluidic platforms that enrich our understanding of collective neural responses to aid emerging therapies for adult repair and/or regeneration. This Special Issue seeks to showcase research papers, short communications, and review articles that emphasize novel microfluidic systems and/or applications that elucidate integrated cellular responses needed to advance regeneration in the visual, central, and peripheral NS of adults.

Prof. Maribel Vazquez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • regeneration
  • neuronal and glial interactions
  • stem cells
  • adult tissue

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Cerebral Organoid Connectivity Apparatus to Model Neuronal Tract Circuitry
Micromachines 2021, 12(12), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12121574 - 17 Dec 2021
Viewed by 842
Abstract
Mental disorders have high prevalence, but the efficacy of existing therapeutics is limited, in part, because the pathogenic mechanisms remain enigmatic. Current models of neural circuitry include animal models and post-mortem brain tissue, which have allowed enormous progress in understanding the pathophysiology of [...] Read more.
Mental disorders have high prevalence, but the efficacy of existing therapeutics is limited, in part, because the pathogenic mechanisms remain enigmatic. Current models of neural circuitry include animal models and post-mortem brain tissue, which have allowed enormous progress in understanding the pathophysiology of mental disorders. However, these models limit the ability to assess the functional alterations in short-range and long-range network connectivity between brain regions that are implicated in many mental disorders, e.g., schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. This work addresses these limitations by developing an in vitro model of the human brain that models the in vivo cerebral tract environment. In this study, microfabrication and stem cell differentiation techniques were combined to develop an in vitro cerebral tract model that anchors human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cerebral organoids (COs) and provides a scaffold to promote the formation of a functional connecting neuronal tract. Two designs of a Cerebral Organoid Connectivity Apparatus (COCA) were fabricated using SU-8 photoresist. The first design contains a series of spikes which anchor the CO to the COCA (spiked design), whereas the second design contains flat supporting structures with open holes in a grid pattern to anchor the organoids (grid design); both designs allow effective media exchange. Morphological and functional analyses reveal the expression of key neuronal markers as well as functional activity and signal propagation along cerebral tracts connecting CO pairs. The reported in vitro models enable the investigation of critical neural circuitry involved in neurodevelopmental processes and has the potential to help devise personalized and targeted therapeutic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Platforms for the Nervous System)
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Review

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Review
Microfluidic and Microscale Assays to Examine Regenerative Strategies in the Neuro Retina
Micromachines 2020, 11(12), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11121089 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
Bioengineering systems have transformed scientific knowledge of cellular behaviors in the nervous system (NS) and pioneered innovative, regenerative therapies to treat adult neural disorders. Microscale systems with characteristic lengths of single to hundreds of microns have examined the development and specialized behaviors of [...] Read more.
Bioengineering systems have transformed scientific knowledge of cellular behaviors in the nervous system (NS) and pioneered innovative, regenerative therapies to treat adult neural disorders. Microscale systems with characteristic lengths of single to hundreds of microns have examined the development and specialized behaviors of numerous neuromuscular and neurosensory components of the NS. The visual system is comprised of the eye sensory organ and its connecting pathways to the visual cortex. Significant vision loss arises from dysfunction in the retina, the photosensitive tissue at the eye posterior that achieves phototransduction of light to form images in the brain. Retinal regenerative medicine has embraced microfluidic technologies to manipulate stem-like cells for transplantation therapies, where de/differentiated cells are introduced within adult tissue to replace dysfunctional or damaged neurons. Microfluidic systems coupled with stem cell biology and biomaterials have produced exciting advances to restore vision. The current article reviews contemporary microfluidic technologies and microfluidics-enhanced bioassays, developed to interrogate cellular responses to adult retinal cues. The focus is on applications of microfluidics and microscale assays within mammalian sensory retina, or neuro retina, comprised of five types of retinal neurons (photoreceptors, horizontal, bipolar, amacrine, retinal ganglion) and one neuroglia (Müller), but excludes the non-sensory, retinal pigmented epithelium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Platforms for the Nervous System)
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