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Multi-electrode array (MEA) recordings of neuronal network activity

 

Chemical-induced changes in network function can be due to changes in electrical activity as well as to changes in secreting or receiving intercellular signals. Multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) consist of a cell culture surface with an integrated array of microelectrodes, allowing the recording of electrical activity in primary cultured cortical neurons. We use a multi-well MEA system to simultaneously record electrical activity at several locations, thereby providing an integrated measure for chemical-induced effects on (the development of) neurotransmission within a neuronal network in vitro.

MEA approaches have only relatively recently been introduced in neurotoxicological research, mostly for the investigation of acute disruption of spontaneous network function. Only very recently, MEA research has been initiated for the investigation of developmental neurotoxicity, thereby demonstrating chemically-induced effects on the development of neuronal network function in in vitro cultures.

We now apply this method to study changes in spontaneous activity as a measure of (sub)acute neurotoxicity. In the current project however, we want to investigate the possibility to use the MEA technique to study chemically-induced changes in synaptic plasticity as a measure for potential effects on learning and behavior.

Approach / techniques:

Cell culture of primary cultures of cortical neurons; Recordings of electrical activity of cultured cortical neurons using multi-well multi-electrode arrays; Structure-activity relations; Pharmacology & toxicology of inter- and intracellular signaling.