Optically guided neuron growth is a relatively new field where the exact mechanisms that initiate growth are not well understood. Both Gaussian light beams and optical line traps have been purported to initiate neuronal growth. Here we present a detailed study using optical line traps with symmetric and asymmetric intensity profiles which have been previously reported to bias the direction of neuronal growth. In contrast to these previous studies, we show similar levels of growth regardless of the direction of the intensity variation along the line trap. Furthermore, our experimental observations confirm previous suggestions that the filopodia produced from neuronal growth cones can be affected by laser light. We experimentally observe alignment of filopodia with the laser field and present a theoretical model describing the optical torques experienced by filopodia to explain this effect.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics