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Abstract:  
In this work, we developed a three-dimensional model of mouse spinal cord motoneurons on scaffolds composed of electrospun Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA) fibers and plasma-polymerized Poly-Pyrrol (PPy)-coated PLA fibers. The functionality of the cultured motoneurons was assessed by evaluating both the electrophysiological response (i.e., the whole-cell Na+ and K+  currents and the firing of action potentials), as well as the expression of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter by immunostaining techniques. Even though the expression of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter was confirmed on motoneurons cultured on the fibrous scaffolds, the electrophysiological responses showed Na+ and K+ currents with lower amplitude and slower action potentials when compared to the response recorded from spinal cord motoneurons cultured on Poly-DL-Ornithine/Laminin- and plasma-polymerized Poly- Pyrrol-coated coverslips. In addition, from a morphological viewpoint, motoneurons cultured on PLA and  PPy- coated PLA scaffolds did not show the development of dendritic and/or axonal processes, which were satisfactorily observed in the bidimensional cultures. We hypothesize that the apparently limited development of these processes could be producing a deleterious effect on the electrophysiological response of the cells, which might be due to the limited growth surface available in the fibrous scaffolds and/or to an undesired effect of the purification process.
     

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