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A multimodal 3D neuro-microphysiological system with neurite-trapping microelectrodes

By Beatriz Molina-Martinez, Laura V Jentsch, Fulya Ersoy, Matthijs van der Moolen, Stella Donato, Torbjorn V Ness, Peter Heutink, Peter D Jones, Paolo Cesare

Posted 16 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.16.436793

Three-dimensional cell technologies as pre-clinical models are emerging tools mimicking the structural and functional complexity of the nervous system. The accurate exploration of phenotypes in engineered 3D neuronal cultures, however, demands morphological, molecular and especially functional measurements. Particularly crucial is measurement of electrical activity of individual neurons with millisecond resolution. Current techniques rely on customized electrophysiological recording set-ups, characterized by limited throughput and poor integration with other readout modalities. Here we describe a novel approach, using multiwell glass microfluidic microelectrode arrays, allowing non-invasive electrical recording from engineered 3D neural tissues. We demonstrate parallelized studies with reference compounds, calcium imaging and optogenetic stimulation. Additionally, we show how microplate compatibility allows automated handling and high-content analysis of human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons. This microphysiological platform opens up new avenues for high-throughput studies on the functional, morphological and molecular details of neurological diseases and their potential treatment by therapeutic compounds.

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