HIGH-THROUGHPUT INVESTIGATION OF NEURONAL ACTIVITY IN VITRO USING MULTI ELECTRODE ARRAYS
Studies addressing synaptic plasticity-related mechanisms are increasingly numerous in the scientific literature. Besides sophisticated in vivo approaches, primary cell cultures provide simplified but high-throughput systems to analyse dynamic changes in synaptic connections and networks. In this work, we show several possibilities to reveal plasticity-dependent changes in cultured hippocampal neurons and compare their effectiveness in short and long-term investigations. Structural rearrangements of dendritic spines upon chemical treatments can be analysed in cell cultures. Several methods exist to chemically or electrically evoke LTP- or LTD-dependent changes in cultured neurons, followed by measuring the structural and morphological parameters of dendritic spines. These attempts, however, should be also accompanied by electrophysiology measurements. In classic electrophysiology such as single-cell patch clamp, data acquisition is slow and hindered by the diversity of the cultures. A possible solution to this problem is the use of multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) where field potentials of neuronal networks can be followed even up to several weeks in a non-invasive manner.Primary murine hippocampal cell cultures seeded on multi-well MEA plates have been investigated during their in vitro development as well as upon chemically or electrically evoked LTP and LTD. The cultures were viable at least up to 28 days expressing complex firing patterns. Thus, multi-well MEA plates are potent tools for high-throughput studies of neuronal network activity. This work was completed by the National Brain Research Program (2017-1.2.1-NKP-2017-00002) and by the ELTE Institutional Excellence Program supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH-1157-8/2019-DT).