University of Aveiro
Neurons are the primary cells of the nervous system and are responsible for the distinctive roles of the brain. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate their differentiation, development, and function is essential to understand the nervous system and how it regulates other organs. Neuronal cell cultures can be prepared from various regions of the central and peripheral nervous system. Although this model has some limitations, for example, the lack of interactions with other cell types and the absence of the layered organization of the brain, neuronal cultures reproduce most of the key properties and distinct characteristics observed in vivo and are invaluable tools to study the nervous system.
Culturing nerve cells is still a challenging task, due to technical difficulties in isolating specific brain regions and the precise requirements of each neuronal population. Primary neuronal cultures are excellent models to study fundamental aspects of neuronal development and function like axonal growth, synapse formation, neurotransmission, and neuronal plasticity; to investigate intracellular trafficking and subcellular localization of endogenous proteins; to uncover the effect of disease-related mutations; to perform drug screens, disease modeling, and toxicological studies. In this collection, we present a variety of neuronal cell culture models, which are the result of the expertise of experienced researchers in each specific neuronal type. These protocols will provide detailed information about the methodology and the most relevant procedures used to cultured neuronal cells from the mammalian nervous system.