Magnetic nanotubes hold the potential for neuroscience applications because of the feasibility of controlling the orientation or movement of magnetic nanotubes and their ability to deliver chemicals or biomolecules by an external magnetic field, which can facilitate directed growth of neurites. Therefore, we sought to investigate the effects of laminin treated magnetic nanotubes and external alternating magnetic fields on the growth of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in cell culture. Magnetic nanotubes were synthesized by a hydrothermal method and characterized to confirm their hollow structure, the hematite and maghemite phases, and the magnetic properties. DRG neurons were cultured in the presence of laminin coupled magnetic nanotubes under alternating magnetic fields. Electron microscopy showed a close interaction between magnetic nanotubes and the growing neurites. Phase contrast microscopy revealed live growing neurons suggesting that the combination of the presence of magnetic nanotubes and the alternating magnetic field were tolerated by DRG neurons. The synergistic effects, from both laminin treated magnetic nanotubes and the applied magnetic field on the survival, growth, and electrical activities of the DRG neurons, are currently being investigated.

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