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Preparation and use of serum-free aggregating brain cell cultures for routine neurotoxicity screening
Title of the book
Cell culture techniques
Address of publication
Aschner M., Suñol C., Bal-Price A.
The nervous system is a frequent target of industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and environmental pollutants. To screen large numbers of compounds for their neurotoxic potential, in vitro systems are required which combine organ-specific traits with robustness and high reproducibility. These requirements are met by serum-free aggregating brain cell cultures derived from mechanically dissociated embryonic rat brain. The initial cell suspension, composed of neural stem cells, neural progenitor cells, immature postmitotic neurons, glioblasts, and microglial cells, is kept under continuous gyratory agitation. Spherical aggregates form spontaneously and are maintained in suspension culture for several weeks. Within the aggregates, the cells rearrange and mature, reproducing critical morphogenic events such as migration, proliferation, differentiation, synaptogenesis, and myelination. In addition to the spontaneous reconstitution of histotypic brain architecture, the cultures acquire organ-specific functionality as indicated by activity-dependent glucose consumption, spontaneous electrical activity, and brain-specific inflammatory responses. These three-dimensional primary cell cultures offer therefore a unique model for neurotoxicity testing both during development and at advanced cellular differentiation. The high number of aggregates available and the excellent reproducibility of the cultures facilitate routine test procedures. This chapter presents a detailed description of the preparation and maintenance of these cultures as well as their use for routine toxicity testing.
Aggregating brain cell cultures, development, maturation, neurotoxicity, gliotoxicity, CNS, three-dimensional cell culture, organ toxicity, high content analysis
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