Modification of a neuronal network direction using stepwise photo-thermal etching of an agarose architecture

Ikurou Suzuki, Yoshihiro Sugio, Hiroyuki Moriguchi, Yasuhiko Jimbo, Kenji Yasuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Control over spatial distribution of individual neurons and the pattern of neural network provides an important tool for studying information processing pathways during neural network formation. Moreover, the knowledge of the direction of synaptic connections between cells in each neural network can provide detailed information on the relationship between the forward and feedback signaling. We have developed a method for topographical control of the direction of synaptic connections within a living neuronal network using a new type of individual-cell-based on-chip cell-cultivation system with an agarose microchamber array (AMCA). The advantages of this system include the possibility to control positions and number of cultured cells as well as flexible control of the direction of elongation of axons through stepwise melting of narrow grooves. Such micrometer-order microchannels are obtained by photo-thermal etching of agarose where a portion of the gel is melted with a 1064-nm infrared laser beam. Using this system, we created neural network from individual Rat hippocampal cells. We were able to control elongation of individual axons during cultivation (from cells contained within the AMCA) by non-destructive stepwise photo-thermal etching. We have demonstrated the potential of our on-chip AMCA cell cultivation system for the controlled development of individual cell-based neural networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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