Steered migration and changed morphology of human astrocytes by an applied electric field.


Department of Plastic Surgery, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200127, People's Republic of China. Electronic address: [Email]


Direct current electric field (DC EF) plays a role in influencing the biological behaviors and functions of cells. We hypothesize that human astrocytes (HAs) could also be influenced in EF. Astrocytes, an important type of nerve cells with a high proportion quantitatively, are generally activated and largely decide the brain repair results after brain injury. So far, no electrotaxis study on HAs has been performed. We here obtained HAs derived from brain trauma patients. After purification and identification, HAs were seeded in the EF chamber and recorded in a time-lapse image system. LY294002 and U0126 were then used to probe the role of PI3K or ERK signaling pathway on cellular behaviors. The results showed that HAs could be guided to migrate to the anode in DC EFs, in a voltage-dependent manner. The HAs displayed elongated cell bodies and reoriented perpendicularly to the EF in morphology. When treated with LY294002 or U0126, alternation of parameters such as cellular verticality, track speed, displacement speed, long axis, vertical length and circularity were inhibited partly as expected, while the EF-induced directedness was not terminated even at a high drug dosage which was not consistent with previous electrotaxis studies. In conclusion, applied EFs steered the patient-derived HAs directional migration and changed morphology, in which PI3K and ERK pathways at least partially participate. The characteristics of HAs to EF stimulation may be involved in wound healing and neural regeneration, which could be utilized as a novel treatment strategy in brain injury.


Electric field,Electrotaxis,Human astrocytes,Migration,Mobility,Morphological change,