Primary Cell Cultures
In vitro neuronal monolayer cultures are increasingly recognised as tools to study and characterize the functional response of neuronal networks to substances, bridging the gap between high-throughput approaches, genomics, and proteomics on the one side and animal models on the other.
Primary neuronal networks () remain tissue-specific and maintain the pharmacologically tissue specific receptor compositions, assembled by a mixture of different types of neurons and glial cells. The glial cells have important auxiliary functions for metabolism and the supply of neurons with ions and nutrients. Glial cells are additional targets for neuronal signals and interact with the synaptic release and metabolism of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Only such natural co-cultures of the cell types specific for a given brain region allow the monitoring of network development and maturation as well as the study of long term effects over the range of several weeks.
Activity in neuronal networks starts after approximately four to five days in vitro, characterized by random spike generation. Only after establishing a stable activity pattern after 4 weeks, the neuronal networks are employed in standard drug testing. However, primary neuronal networks pass through the whole differentiation and maturation process and can be applied for such models as well (see Neurogenesis).
NeuroProof offers screening services using primary neuronal network cultures derived from frontal cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus or spinal cord from mice, or human neuronal cultures derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, iPSC.