Alzheimer’s disease (AD), primarily associated with formation of fibrillar amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) aggregates in the brain, is one of the most common old-age diseases. It is therefore crucial with an elevated scientific interest in Aβ, and its fundamental properties in a wide sense, to develop efficient methods for early detection and to combat AD. For the development of new techniques, both for AD detection and prevention, researchers are dependent on either tissue samples from deceased patients, animal models or in vitro systems. In vitro systems, such as producing protein aggregates of the Aβ-peptide in a test tube by incubation under denaturing conditions, offers us a simple but rather blunt tool for evaluating aggregation inhibition caused by compounds or to investigate new detection methods. We recently introduced the organic electronic ion pump (OEIP) as a method for creating amyloid-like aggregates at high spatiotemporal control as compared to the resulting aggregates manufactured using regular test tube-conditions. Combined with a fluorescent probe that is specific for the fibrillar aggregated form of misfolded peptides commonly seen in AD, this allowed us to control and to monitor the aggregation of a model peptide system in a highly confined space.
To further elaborate the functionality of the OEIP together with amyloid-specific probes, we here present experiments demonstrating electronically controlled micron sized formation of Aβ-aggregates with morphologies ranging from fine fibers, to bundles of fibers, and thick mesh-like fiber structures. We foresee that the methodology can be implemented in multi array systems that can be utilized for studies of protein aggregation in confined spaces or together with cultured cells, as well as for the development of screening platforms for assessment of molecules influencing the Aβ-aggregation process.