The human brain is the most complex organ in biology. This complexity is due to the number and the intricate connections of brain cells and has so far limited the development of in vitro models for basic and applied brain research. We decided to create a new, reliable, and cost-effective in vitro system based on the Nichoid, a 3D microscaffold microfabricated by two-photon laser polymerization technology. We investigated whether these 3D microscaffold devices can create an environment allowing the manipulation, monitoring, and functional assessment of a mixed population of brain cells in vitro. With this aim, we set up a new model of hippocampal neurons and astrocytes co-cultured in the Nichoid microscaffold to generate brain micro-tissues of 30 mu m thickness. After 21 days in culture, we morphologically characterized the 3D spatial organization of the hippocampal astrocytes and neurons within the microscaffold, and we compared our observations to those made using the classical 2D co-culture system. We found that the co-cultured cells colonized the entire volume of the 3D devices. Using confocal microscopy, we observed that within this period the different cell types had become well-differentiated. This was further elaborated with the use of drebrin, PSD-95, and synaptophysin antibodies that labeled the majority of neurons, both in the 2D as well as in the 3D co-cultures. Using scanning electron microscopy, we found that neurons in the 3D co-culture displayed a significantly larger amount of dendritic protrusions compared to neurons in the 2D co-culture. This latter observation indicates that neurons growing in a 3D environment may be more prone to form connections than those co-cultured in a 2D condition. Our results show that the Nichoid can be used as a 3D device to investigate the structure and morphology of neurons and astrocytes in vitro. In the future, this model can be used as a tool to study brain cell interactions in the discovery of important mechanisms governing neuronal plasticity and to determine the factors that form the basis of different human brain diseases. This system may potentially be further used for drug screening in the context of various brain diseases.

Effect of 3D Synthetic Microscaffold Nichoid on the Morphology of Cultured Hippocampal Neurons and Astrocytes

Colnaghi, Luca;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The human brain is the most complex organ in biology. This complexity is due to the number and the intricate connections of brain cells and has so far limited the development of in vitro models for basic and applied brain research. We decided to create a new, reliable, and cost-effective in vitro system based on the Nichoid, a 3D microscaffold microfabricated by two-photon laser polymerization technology. We investigated whether these 3D microscaffold devices can create an environment allowing the manipulation, monitoring, and functional assessment of a mixed population of brain cells in vitro. With this aim, we set up a new model of hippocampal neurons and astrocytes co-cultured in the Nichoid microscaffold to generate brain micro-tissues of 30 mu m thickness. After 21 days in culture, we morphologically characterized the 3D spatial organization of the hippocampal astrocytes and neurons within the microscaffold, and we compared our observations to those made using the classical 2D co-culture system. We found that the co-cultured cells colonized the entire volume of the 3D devices. Using confocal microscopy, we observed that within this period the different cell types had become well-differentiated. This was further elaborated with the use of drebrin, PSD-95, and synaptophysin antibodies that labeled the majority of neurons, both in the 2D as well as in the 3D co-cultures. Using scanning electron microscopy, we found that neurons in the 3D co-culture displayed a significantly larger amount of dendritic protrusions compared to neurons in the 2D co-culture. This latter observation indicates that neurons growing in a 3D environment may be more prone to form connections than those co-cultured in a 2D condition. Our results show that the Nichoid can be used as a 3D device to investigate the structure and morphology of neurons and astrocytes in vitro. In the future, this model can be used as a tool to study brain cell interactions in the discovery of important mechanisms governing neuronal plasticity and to determine the factors that form the basis of different human brain diseases. This system may potentially be further used for drug screening in the context of various brain diseases.
3D co-cultures
brain models
brain on dish
dendritic spines
primary culture
Coculture Techniques
Hippocampus
Humans
Neurons
Astrocytes
Brain Diseases
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11768/133613
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