Neural cells can be classified into many different cell types depending on their location and function. However, there are two primary cell types namely, neurons and glia cells consisting of astocytes, oligodendocytes and microgia.
Neural cells are derived from neural stem cells, which produce neural progenitor and precursor cells in a similar organization to that of the hematopoietic and other stem cell systems. Both neural stem and progenitor cells are capable of proliferation.
Neural stem cells can be obtained by explanting primary neural tissue. In addition, neural stem cells can also be obtained by inducing embryonic stem (ES) cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
When neural stem cells are cultured, they first produce neural "rosettes", which are thought to represent neural tubes. These "rosettes" can then be induced into neurons and glial cells.
Neural cells can be cultured under non-adherent or adherent conditions. Under essentially non-adherent conditions and in the presence of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and/or fibroblast growth factor (FGF) as mitogens, the cells proliferate and form neurospheres which grow and detach from the surface. The neurospheres can be disaggregated and re-cultured to form more neurospheres. During each passage, the cells proliferate and this proliferation can be quantitatively measured using the assay below developed by Preferred Cell Systems™.
The alternative is to culture neural cells as a monolayer on a growth surface coated with poly-L-ornithine, laminin or fibronectin using the same inducers. The proliferating cells can be expanded and re-cultured by passaging and their proliferation and metabolic function can be measured using an assay listed below.
These assays can be combined or multiplexed with other important assay readouts that characterize neurons and glial cell types.
For neurotoxicity applications, Preferred Cell Systems™ has developed NeuroGlo™-Tox HT, a high throughput, in vitro toxicity platform available as a 96-well plate format, but also, upon request, as a 384-well plate format. This platform is also available complete with cryopreserved, human ES-derived neural cells.
For research studies of neural cells grown in vitro, Preferred Cell Systems™ has assay kits available in both non-adherent and adherent 96-well plate formats with 3 different readouts depending on the plate reader being used.
- NeuroGLO™ using a standardized bioluminescence readout.
- NeuroFLUOR™ using a fluorescence readout.
- NeuroLIGHT™ using an absorbance/colorimetric readout.