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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Dec 2023 - 29 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 27

ACS Chem Neurosci


A Microfluidic High-Capacity Screening Platform for Neurological Disorders.


Moll L, Pihl J, Karlsson M, Karila P, Svensson CI


Compartmentalized cell cultures (CCCs) provide the possibility to study mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as spreading of misfolded proteins in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease or functional changes in, e.g., chronic pain, in vitro. However, many CCC devices do not provide the necessary capacity for identifying novel mechanisms, targets, or drugs in a drug discovery context. Here, we present a high-capacity cell culture microtiter microfluidic plate compliant with American National Standard Institute of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (ANSI/SLAS) standards that allows to parallelize up to 96 CCCs/experimental units, where each experimental unit comprises three microchannel-connected compartments. The plate design allows the specific treatment of cells in individual compartments through the application of a fluidic barrier. Moreover, the compatibility of the plate with neuronal cultures was confirmed with rodent primary as well as human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons of the central or peripheral nervous system for up to 14 days in culture. Using immunocytochemistry, we demonstrated that the plate design restricts neuronal soma to individual compartments, while axons, but not dendrites, can grow through the connecting microchannels to neighboring compartments. In addition, we show that neurons are spontaneously active and, as deemed by the appearance of synchronous depolarizations in neighboring compartments, are synaptically coupled. In summary, the design of the microfluidic plate allows for both morphological and functional studies of neurological in vitro cultures with increased capacity to support identification of novel mechanisms, targets, or drugs.