I. Neagoe et al. (APR 2018)
Stem cell research 28 105--114
The GluN2B subunit represents a major functional determinant of NMDA receptors in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons.
Abnormal signaling pathways mediated by N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various CNS disorders and have been long considered as promising points of therapeutic intervention. However, few efforts have been previously described concerning evaluation of therapeutic modulators of NMDARs and their downstream pathways in human neurons with endogenous expression of NMDARs. In the present study, we assessed expression, functionality, and subunit composition of endogenous NMDARs in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cortical neurons (iCell Neurons and iCell GlutaNeurons). We initially confirmed the expected pharmacological response of iCell Neurons and iCell GlutaNeurons to NMDA by patch-clamp recordings. Subsequent pharmacological interrogation using GluN2 subunit-selective antagonists revealed the predominance of GluN2B in both iCell Neurons and iCell GlutaNeurons. This observation was also supported by qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses of GluN2 subunit expression as well as pharmacological experiments using positive allosteric modulators with distinct GluN2 subunit selectivity. We conclude that iCell Neurons and iCell GlutaNeurons express functional GluN2B-containing NMDARs and could serve as a valuable system for development and validation of GluN2B-modulating pharmaceutical agents.
iCell® GlutaNeurons Kit, 01279
A. M. Tukker et al. (JUL 2018)
Neurotoxicology 67 215--225
Human iPSC-derived neuronal models for in vitro neurotoxicity assessment.
Neurotoxicity testing still relies on ethically debated, expensive and time consuming in vivo experiments, which are unsuitable for high-throughput toxicity screening. There is thus a clear need for a rapid in vitro screening strategy that is preferably based on human-derived neurons to circumvent interspecies translation. Recent availability of commercially obtainable human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons and astrocytes holds great promise in assisting the transition from the current standard of rat primary cortical cultures to an animal-free alternative. We therefore composed several hiPSC-derived neuronal models with different ratios of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the presence or absence of astrocytes. Using immunofluorescent stainings and multi-well micro-electrode array (mwMEA) recordings we demonstrate that these models form functional neuronal networks that become spontaneously active. The differences in development of spontaneous neuronal activity and bursting behavior as well as spiking patterns between our models confirm the importance of the presence of astrocytes. Preliminary neurotoxicity assessment demonstrates that these cultures can be modulated with known seizurogenic compounds, such as picrotoxin (PTX) and endosulfan, and the neurotoxicant methylmercury (MeHg). However, the chemical-induced effects on different parameters for neuronal activity, such as mean spike rate (MSR) and mean burst rate (MBR), may depend on the ratio of inhibitory and excitatory neurons. Our results thus indicate that hiPSC-derived neuronal models must be carefully designed and characterized prior to large-scale use in neurotoxicity screening.