Introduction: Electroactive smart materials are increasingly being used for tissue regenerative applications. Piezoelectric polymers, such as poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF), are one type of electroactive materials that generate electrical potential fluctuations simply by applying mechanical pressure to the material, without the need for additional power sources. The use of piezoelectric PVDF as an electroactive material to enhance neural differentiation has been examined in this study.
Methodology: Human neural precursor cells (hNPCs) were cultured on piezoelectric poled and non-poled β-PVDF films with or without a pre-coating step of poly-D-lysine and laminin (PDL/L), and differentiation into the neuronal lineage was assessed (MAP2+ and DCX+) under static or dynamic (piezoelectric stimulation) culture conditions.
Results: The results revealed that under static culture conditions, PVDF films promote neuronal differentiation, which is amplified when the films are mechanically stimulated. Furthermore, in silico studies of the electrostatic potential of different domains of laminin (L) revealed that they are mostly polar, implying that highly polar PVDF films interact more with the fluctuating surface electric field under mechanical stimulation.
Conclusions:These findings support the higher neuronal differentiation induced by poled β-PVDF films pre-coated with PDL/L under dynamic conditions. Overall, results demonstrate that electromechanical stimuli created by piezoelectric PVDF films are suitable for promoting neuronal differentiation and should be investigated for neuroregenerative therapeutic approaches.