Poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene, P(VDF-TrFE)) and P(VDF-TrFE)/barium titanate nanoparticle (BTNP) films are prepared and tested as substrates for neuronal stimulation through direct piezoelectric effect. Films are characterized in terms of surface, mechanical, and piezoelectric features before in vitro testing on SH-SY5Y cells. In particular, BTNPs significantly improve piezoelectric properties of the films (4.5-fold increasedd31). Both kinds of films support good SH-SY5Y viability and differentiation. Ultrasound (US) stimulation is proven to elicit Ca2+ transients and to enhance differentiation in cells grown on the piezoelectric substrates. For the first time in the literature, this study demonstrates the suitability of polymer/ceramic composite films and US for neuronal stimulation through direct piezoelectric effect.
P(VDF-TrFE) and P(VDF-TrFE)/BaTiO3 nanoparticle composite films are used for SH-SY5Y stimulation. Ultrasound stimulation of cells differentiated on composite films induces Ca2+ transients by direct piezoelectric effect, determining an improvement of the neuronal phenotype. Suitability of P(VDF-TrFE)/BaTiO3 NP films as active substrates in tissue engineering is proposed.