Adv Healthc Mater 2018 02 21;7(4). Epub 2017 Dec 21.
Institute of Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76334, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany.
3D glassy carbon structures with percolated macropores are obtained by pyrolysis of chemically synthesized cryogels featuring tunable porosity. These batch-fabricated structures are used as scaffolds for culturing neural stem cells (NSCs) and are characterized by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With the aid of MRI, the successful cultivation of NSCs on a glassy carbon surface and the precise 3D locations of these cell clusters within the opaque scaffold are demonstrated. MRI also yields pore morphology and porosity analyses, pre- and post-pyrolysis. This integrated approach yields a complete 3D dataset of the NSC network, which enables the visual inspection of the morphological details of individual cell clusters without disturbing them or destroying the scaffold. Reported experimental methodology is expected to have an impact on studies designed to understand the mechanism of neurodegenerative disease (ND) development, and can serve as a protocol for the culture of various other types of cells that display compatibility with glassy carbon surfaces.