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Neurobiology Assay Services

Highly specialized cells need highly specialized assay services.

 

Overview

The central nervous systems (CNS) possesses many unique characteristics that make not only the treatment of neurological disorders and conditions very challenging, but also the process of drug discovery to support them. For example, many of the functions controlled by the CNS depend upon a highly complex network of neural circuits that exhibit significant plasticity (i.e. changes in the structure of the brain that occur in response to a stimulus) upon injury. This plasticity is partially mediated by the overall connectivity of the network where the injury occurred, which cannot be effectively modeled with a 2D immortalized cell line.

Neuroplasticity is also mediated, in part, by glia, the support cells of the CNS, in a variety of ways. Microglia have been shown to play a role in the pruning of synapses through phagocytosis during early development and are suggested to play a role in plasticity using the same mechanism. Astrocytes have been shown to regulate levels of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft to help stimulate synaptogenesis. For these reasons, 3D, tri-culture models of neuronal and glial cells mimic disease conditions in a more relevant manner than neuronal mono-cultures. Still, the incredible diversity of cells within the CNS may necessitate unique assays for each type.

An additional challenge here is that many neurological disorders are highly pleiotropic, making it difficult to find predictive assays. Even standard neuronal assays require significant experience in neuronal cell culture because of their unique energy requirements and sensitivity to the presence of support cells. 

Ready-2-Go Assay Service

Neuronal Apoptosis & Viability

Assessments of cell health are often limited to classification of cells as ‘live’ or dead’, but cell health is much more nuanced. Multiplexed imaging of cells can provide a more realistic view but can be difficult to perform due to wash steps that remove cells from analysis, as neuronal cells are easily dislodged from attached surfaces. Our R2G Neuronal Cell Health Assay Service measures viability and apoptosis using a protocol that minimizes errors associated with washing.
Ready-2-Go Assay Service

Neurite Outgrowth & Network Dynamics

Neurodegenerative diseases are often associated with altered connections in neural networks. Typical assays measuring these dynamics use immortalized neuronal cell lines, which may not be physiologically relevant, or costly and highly variable primary neurons. Our R2G Neurite Outgrowth and Neurite Network Dynamics assays use iPSC-derived neurons with culture conditions optimized to provide accurate initial neurite outgrowth measurements with the flexibility to assess changes in steady-state neurite network formation.
Ready-2-Go Assay Service

Neuronal Mitochondrial Health

Neurons are uniquely sensitive to disruption of mitochondrial activities due to their specialized functions that require high amounts of energy. These mitochondrial perturbations are thought to play a major role in many neurodegenerative diseases. Our R2G Neuronal MitoHealth Assay Service measures changes in mitochondrial function in iPSC-derived neurons to help you assess your test articles' impacts on this biological process.
Ready-2-Go Assay Service

Microglia Phagocytosis

To date, most assays developed for microglial research are conducted using immortalized and murine cell lines that do not adequately mirror human biology. Our R2G Microglia Phagocytosis Assay Service overcomes this issue by using iPSC-derived human microglia. Choose from wild-type and TREM2-mutant cells to measure your test articles' effects on phagocytosis in a fluorescent, kinetic assay.

Unique Questions. Unique Solutions.