Astrocytes have been recognized to be versatile cells participating in fundamental biological processes that are essential for normal brain development and function, and central nervous system repair. Here we present a rapid procedure to obtain pure mouse astrocyte cultures to study the biology of this major class of central nervous system cells.
This article intends to describe in stepwise fashion the commonly used in vitro assays used in studying Schwann cell-asrtocyte interactions.
Imaging Analysis of Neuron to Glia Interaction in Microfluidic Culture Platform (MCP)-based Neuronal Axon and Glia Co-culture System
This study describes the procedures of setting up a novel neuronal axon and (astro)glia co-culture platform. In this co-culture system, manipulation of direct interaction between a single axon (and single glial cell) becomes feasible, allowing mechanistic analysis of the mutual neuron to glial signaling.
We describe how to measure near membrane and global intracellular calcium dynamics in cultured astrocytes using total internal reflection and epifluorescence microscopy.
This article describes a novel protocol and reagent set designed for sensitive measurement of neurotoxic effects of compounds and treatments on co-cultures of neurons and astrocytes using high content analysis. Results demonstrate that high content analysis represents an exciting novel technology for neurotoxicity assessment.
1Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, UCLA, 2Basic Medicine School, Fourth Military Medical University, 3Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, 4Aerospace Medicine School, Fourth Military Medical Univeristy
In this protocol, we described a new method to study the influence of glial cell heterogeneity on axon growth with an in vitro co-culture system. Rat cortical glial cells were cultured to confluence and cocultured with highly purified rat dorsal root ganglia neurons. Different glial cell influence on neurons adhesion and axon growth was compared directly in the same culture. This method provides a new way to directly study the glial cell heterogeneity influence on neuron adhesion and axon growth.
Dual Electrophysiological Recordings of Synaptically-evoked Astroglial and Neuronal Responses in Acute Hippocampal Slices
The preparation of acute brain slices from isolated hippocampi, as well as the simultaneous electrophysiological recordings of astrocytes and neurons in stratum radiatum during stimulation of schaffer collaterals is described. The pharmacological isolation of astroglial potassium and glutamate transporter currents is demonstrated.
A method to load subventricular zone (SVZ) cells with calcium indicator dyes for recording calcium activity is described. The postnatal SVZ contains tightly packed cells including neural progenitor cells and neuroblasts. Rather than using bath loading we injected the dye by pressure inside the tissue allowing better dye diffusion.
1Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 3Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 4Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
A simple and reliable method on isolation and culture of neural stem cells from discarded human fetal cortical tissue is described. Cultures derived from known human neurological disorders can be used for characterization of pathological cellular and molecular processes, as well as provide a platform to assess pharmacological efficacy.
A screening method to detect oxidative cellular environments is to measure the oxidation of CM-H2DCFDA. Once oxidized within a cell, CM-H2DCFDA changes from non-fluorescent into a fluorescent compound. This change in fluorescence is measured by flow cytometry and indicates the number of cells in an oxidative environment.
Isolating primary microglia from the cellular heterogeneity of the brain is essential to investigate their role in both physiological and pathological conditions. This protocol describes a mechanical isolation and mixed cell culture technique that provides high yield and high purity, viable primary microglial cells for in vitro study and downstream applications.
Here, we describe a method for efficient cryopreservation and thawing of cortical brain tissue blocks to generate highly enriched neuronal cultures. This simple protocol provides flexibility for later generation of neuronal, astrocyte, and neuronal precursor cell cultures.
In this protocol we describe production, purification and titration of lentiviral vectors. We provide an example of lentiviral vector-mediated gene delivery in primary cultured neurons and astrocytes. Our methods may also apply to other cell types in vitro and in vivo.
The Neuroblast Assay: An Assay for the Generation and Enrichment of Neuronal Progenitor Cells from Differentiating Neural Stem Cell Progeny Using Flow Cytometry
This video protocol demonstrates a novel method for the generation and subsequent purification of neuronal progenitor cells from a renewable source of neural stem cells (NSCs) based on their physical (size and internal granularity) and fluorescent properties using flow cytometry technology.
This protocol details how to quantify synapse number both in dissociated neuronal culture and in brain sections using immunocytochemistry. Using compartment-specific antibodies, we label presynaptic terminals as well as sites of postsynaptic specialization. We define synapses as points of colocalization between the signals generated by these markers.
Derivation of Enriched Oligodendrocyte Cultures and Oligodendrocyte/Neuron Myelinating Co-cultures from Post-natal Murine Tissues
1Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 3Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook University, 4Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa
This article describes methods to derive enriched populations of murine oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in primary culture, which differentiate to produce mature oligodendrocytes (OLs). In addition, this report describes techniques to produce murine myelinating co-cultures by seeding mouse OPCs onto a neurite bed of mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGNs).
To understand network dynamics of microcircuits in the neocortex, it is essential to simultaneously record the activity of a large number of neurons . In-vivo two-photon calcium imaging is the only method that allows one to record the activity of a dense neuronal population with single-cell resolution .
Spontaneous activity of developing neuronal networks can be measured using AM-ester forms of calcium-sensitive indicator dyes. Changes in intracellular calcium, indicating neuronal activation, are detected as transient changes in indicator fluorescence with one- or two-photon imaging. This protocol can be adapted for a range of developmentally-dependent neuronal networks in vitro.
A novel impulsive cell pressurization experiment has been developed using a Kolsky bar device to investigate the molecular/cellular mechanisms of blast-induced traumatic brain injury.
1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 2Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Primary, human fetal brain-derived, multipotential progenitor cells proliferate in vitro while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. This work shows that neural progenitors can be induced to differentiate through stages of the oligodendrocytic lineage by conditioning with select growth factors.
A Galvanotaxis Assay for Analysis of Neural Precursor Cell Migration Kinetics in an Externally Applied Direct Current Electric Field
In this protocol we demonstrate how to construct custom chambers that permit the application of a direct current electric field to enable time-lapse imaging of adult brain derived neural precursor cell translocation during galvanotaxis.
1Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Johns Hopkins University, 2Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 3University of Maryland, 4Experimental Neurology, Biogen Idec, 5The Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 6Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
This protocol outlines the derivation of Glial Restricted Precursors from fetal spinal cords and maintained in vitro either for transplantation or for the study of oligodendrocytic lineage.
1Institute for Clinical Neurobiology, University of Wuerzburg, 2Department of Synapses - Circuits - Plasticity, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, 3Walter Brendel Centre of Experimental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich
Targeted-esterase induced dye loading (TED) supports the analysis of intracellular calcium store dynamics by fluorescence imaging. The method bases on targeting of a recombinant Carboxylesterase to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where it improves the local unmasking of synthetic low-affinity Ca2+ indicator dyes in the ER lumen.
Intraspinal Cell Transplantation for Targeting Cervical Ventral Horn in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury
Neural precursor transplantation is a promising strategy for protecting and/or replacing lost/dysfunctional cervical phrenic motor neurons in spinal cord injury (SCI) and the motor neuron disorder, amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS). We provide a protocol for cell delivery to cervical spinal cord ventral horn in rodent models of ALS and SCI.
1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine, 3Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine
Glutamatergic synapses can switch from an active mode to a silent mode. We demonstrate that presynaptic activity status in dissociated culture of rodent neurons is visualized using a fixable form of the FM1-43 dye to visualize active synapses and immunostaining with vGluT-1 antibody to visualize all glutamate synapses.
Single cell expression profiling allows the detailed gene expression analysis of individual cells. We describe methods for the isolation of cardiomyocytes, and preparing the resulting lysates for either whole transcriptome microarray or qPCR of specific targets.
Generation of an Immortalized Murine Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cell Line as an In Vitro Blood Brain Barrier Model
This method describes how to isolate and immortalize microvascular endothelial cells from mouse brain. We describe a step-by-step protocol starting from the homogenization of brain tissue, digestion steps, seeding and immortalization of the cells. Usually, it takes about five weeks to obtain a homogenous, immortalized microvascular endothelial cell line.
Preparation of Synaptoneurosomes from Mouse Cortex using a Discontinuous Percoll-Sucrose Density Gradient
1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin, 2Department of Biochemistry, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin
A method to prepare translationally active, intact synaptoneurosomes (SNs) from mouse brain cortex is described. The method uses a discontinuous Percoll-sucrose density gradient allowing for the quick preparation of active SNs.
1Department of Physics, University of California, San Diego, 2Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Pennsylvania State University, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University, 4Section of Neurobiology, University of California, San Diego
We present a method to form an imaging window in the mouse skull that spans millimeters and is stable for months without inflammation of the brain. This method is well suited for longitudinal studies of blood flow, cellular dynamics, and cell/vascular structure using two-photon microscopy.
Blood-brain barrier disruption aids the delivery of certain drugs to the brain. Mannitol delivered intra-arterially shrinks cells surrounding blood vessels in order to physically disrupt the barrier.
Preparation of Acute Hippocampal Slices from Rats and Transgenic Mice for the Study of Synaptic Alterations during Aging and Amyloid Pathology
1Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, 2Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 3Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
This article outlines procedures for preparing hippocampal slices from rats and transgenic mice for the study of synaptic alterations associated with brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
We describe a methodology combining automated cell culturing with high-content imaging to visualize and quantify multiple cellular processes and structures, in a high-throughput manner. Such methods can aid in the further functional annotation of genomes as well as identify disease gene networks and potential drug targets.
Here we provide a protocol for culturing rat cortical neurons in the presence of a glial feeder layer. The cultured neurons establish polarity and create synapses, and can be separated from the glia for use in various applications, such as electrophysiology, calcium imaging, cell survival assays, immunocytochemistry, and RNA/DNA/protein isolation.
1Alaska Basic Neuroscience Program, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, 2Department Biochemistry, Hood College, 3Department of Cell Biology, Neuronascent, Inc., 4Research and Development, Neuronascent, Inc.
Neural stem cells were prepared from the hippocampus of adult non-hibernating yearling Arctic ground squirrels (AGS). These neural stem cells can be expanded through numerous passages, differentiated and maintained as a nearly 50:50 neuron to glial culture.
A protocols for an embryonic rat brain aggregate culture system is described. Multipotent progenitors in the aggregates can develop and differentiate into neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
We describe a protocol for real-time videoimaging of neuronal migration in the mouse forebrain. The migration of virally-labeled or grafted neuronal precursors was recorded in acute live slices using wide-field fluorescent imaging with a relatively rapid acquisition interval to study the different phases of cell migration, including the durations of the stationary and migration phases and the speed of migration.
1Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, 3Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center
Lateral fluid percussion (LFP), an established model of traumatic brain injury in mice, is demonstrated. LFP fulfills three major criteria for animal models: validity, reliability and clinical relevance. The procedure, consisting of surgical craniotomy, fixation of hub followed by induction of injury, resulting in focal and diffuse injuries, is described.
Construction and Implantation of a Microinfusion System for Sustained Delivery of Neuroactive Agents.
As neuroscience inquiry becomes more sophisticated, investigation of brain structures and circuitry requires improved levels of accuracy and higher resolution. We have developed a method for the preparation and implantation of a chronic infusion system within the brain utilizing a borosilicate microcannula with a tip diameter of 50 microns.
We established mouse models of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), the predominant brain injury in premature infants characterized by periventricular white matter lesions. Hypoxia/ischemia with/without systemic infection are the primary causes of PVL. Unilateral carotid ligation and hypoxia exposure with/without lipopolysaccharide injection creates PVL-like lesions in P6 mice.
The ability to measure the kinetics of vesicle release can help provide insight into some of the basics of neurotransmission. Here we used real-time imaging of vesicles labeled with the red fluorescent dye FM 4-64 to measure the rate of presynaptic vesicle release in hippocampal neuronal cultures.
We present a method of creating a thinned-skull cortical window (TSCW) in a mouse model for in vivo OCT imaging of the cerebral cortex.
This video protocol demonstrates the application of the neurosphere assay for the isolation and expansion of neural stem cells from the ganglionic eminences of embryonic day 14-mouse brain.
This video protocol demonstrates the neurosphere assay method to generate and expand neural stem cells from the adult mouse periventricular region, and provides technical insights to ensure one can achieve reproducible neurosphere cultures.
Targeting of Deep Brain Structures with Microinjections for Delivery of Drugs, Viral Vectors, or Cell Transplants
In this article, we show a method to make glass capillary needles with a 50-μm lumen. This technique significantly reduces the brain damage, minimizes passive diffusion of drugs and allows a precise targeting into the rodent brain.
Neural-Colony Forming Cell Assay: An Assay To Discriminate Bona Fide Neural Stem Cells from Neural Progenitor Cells
1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Florida, 2Department of Anatomical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, 3STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.
This video protocol demonstrates how to discriminate and enumerate bona fide neural stem cells in a mixed population of neural precursor cells using the neural colony-forming cell assay.
This video protocol demonstrates the isolation and expansion of stem like cells from surgically resected human glioblastoma mutliforme (GBM) tumor tissue using the neurosphere assay culture method.
Primary dissociated midbrain dopamine cell cultures allow for the study of presynaptic characteristics of dopamine neurons. They can be used to monitor real-time dopamine release kinetics and protein/mRNA levels of regulators of dopamine exocytosis. Here, we show you how to generate these cultures from rodent neonates.
We demonstrate a minimally invasive technique referred to as neonatal subventricular zone electroporation. The technique consists of injecting plasmid DNA into the lateral ventricles of neonatal pups and applying electrical current to deliver and genetically manipulate neural stem cells
An Organotypic Slice Assay for High-Resolution Time-Lapse Imaging of Neuronal Migration in the Postnatal Brain
This protocol describes an organotypic slice assay optimized for the postnatal brain and high-resolution time-lapse imaging of neuroblast migration in the rostral migratory stream.
A gene transfer method into the developing mouse brain is described by using a unique surgical method and special shape of electrodes. This unique technique allows transfection of plasmid DNA temporally and spatially, which will aid many neuroscientists in studying brain development.