Cell patterning on photolithographically defined parylene-C: SiO2 substrates

Mark A. Hughes, Paul M. Brennan, Andrew S. Bunting, Mike J. Shipston, Alan F. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Cell patterning platforms support broad research goals, such as construction of predefined in vitro neuronal networks and the exploration of certain central aspects of cellular physiology. To easily combine cell patterning with Multi-Electrode Arrays (MEAs) and silicon-based 'lab on a chip' technologies, a microfabrication-compatible protocol is required. We describe a method that utilizes deposition of the polymer parylene-C on SiO2 wafers. Photolithography enables accurate and reliable patterning of parylene-C at micron-level resolution. Subsequent activation by immersion in fetal bovine serum (or another specific activation solution) results in a substrate in which cultured cells adhere to, or are repulsed by, parylene or SiO2 regions respectively. This technique has allowed patterning of a broad range of cell types (including primary murine hippocampal cells, HEK 293 cell line, human neuron-like teratocarcinoma cell line, primary murine cerebellar granule cells, and primary human glioma-derived stem-like cells). Interestingly, however, the platform is not universal; reflecting the importance of cell-specific adhesion molecules. This cell patterning process is cost effective, reliable, and importantly can be incorporated into standard microfabrication (chip manufacturing) protocols, paving the way for integration of microelectronic technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50929
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number85
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2014


  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical and Dental Materials
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Patterning
  • Cell Surface
  • Issue 85
  • Parylene-C
  • Photolithography
  • Polymers
  • Receptors
  • Silicon dioxide


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