Background Transplantation is one potential clinical application of neural stem cells (NSCs). However, it is very difficult to monitor/control NSCs after transplantation and so provide effective treatment. Electrical measurement using a poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT-PSS) modified microelectrode array (MEA) is a biocompatible, non-invasive, non-destructive approach to understanding cell conditions. This property makes continuous monitoring available for the evaluation/assessment of the development of cells such as NSCs. Methods A PEDOT-PSS modified MEA was used to monitor electrical signals during NSC development in a culture derived from rat embryo striatum in order to understand the NSC differentiation conditions. Results Electrical data indicated that NSCs with nerve growth factor (NGF) generate a cultured cortical neuron-like burst pattern while a random noise pattern was measured with epidermal growth factor (EGF) at 4 days in vitro (DIV) and a burst pattern was observed in both cases at 11 DIV indicating the successful monitoring of differentiation differences and developmental changes. Conclusions The electrical analysis of cell activity using a PEDOT-PSS modified MEA could indicate neural network formation by differentiated neurons. Changes in NSC differentiation could be monitored. General significance The method is based on non-invasive continuous measurement and so could prove a useful tool for the primary/preliminary evaluation of a pharmaceutical analysis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Organic Bioelectronics - Novel Applications in Biomedicine.
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