In order to effectively study the interactions that occur between neurons found in the brain, spatially and after an extended period of time, it is necessary to have reliable, repeatable studies. This is difficult to accomplish through conventional two-dimensional cell culture techniques, but three dimensional (3D) elastomer foams satisfy these criteria. Here we present a platform to study complex neuronal networks for extended periods in vitro. Elastomer foams were constructed with pore sizes ranging from 150μm to 400μm with 40μm secondary pores which allowed human neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y) to adhere and interact with the foam and be sustained for long term studies, over 60 days. Through confocal imaging, it is shown that neuroblastoma cells mature while extending neurites and extensions while grown on the elastomer. Being able to sustain neurons for this length of time in 3D arrangements allows for a better representation of the interactions that occur in 3D tissues, making this method applicable for studying neurodegenerative disease states.
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