Lonza offers a range of cryopreserved human, mouse and rat primary neuron and glia cells prepared from freshly isolated and dissociated embryonic or neonatal nervous tissue from Sprague Dawley rats or CD-1 and C57 Black mice. With years of experience in primary neural cell isolation, Lonza offers ready-to use, high quality neural cells for your research. Extensive testing and optimization provides quality and performance of our neural cells with every batch produced.
Overview of Primary Neurons and Glia Cell Culture
Lonza's portfolio also includes reliable neural media products that are optimized and tested specifically with our primary neural cells. Our serum-free neural media allows for the long-term maintenance and growth of neural cells in culture. Lonza guarantees the performance of its cells when cultured with the recommended medium and following the protocol.
Primary neurons, like all primary cells, are isolated directly from human or animal nervous tissue. Unlike cell lines, primary cells maintain the characteristics of their tissue of origin, making them a biologically and physiologically relevant tool for the study of neuroscience.
Due to selective pressures and genetic drift that occur naturally during cell replication, cell lines can begin to exhibit reduced or altered functions. Primary neuron and glia cells therefore represent significantly more relevant in vitro model systems for neuroscientific research.
The isolation of primary cells can be challenging, and this is particularly the case for primary neural cells. In fact, it has only been within the last few decades that researchers have developed the means of isolating specific neuronal cell types from a complete primary cell culture1. We ensure that our primary neural cell types are isolated accurately from specific regions of the brain by performing extensive testing to confirm cell identity.
The cells of the Central (CNS) and Peripheral (PNS) nervous systems can be broadly grouped into two categories, neuron and glia cells. While neurons are the primary signaling cells of the nervous system, glia provide support functions to the neurons in a variety of different ways.
A typical neuron is composed of a cell body (Soma), an axon and dendrites. The axon carries electrical nerve impulses away from the Soma, while the dendrites receive signals from neighboring neurons. Each neuron is able to form connections with hundreds of other neural cells via intercellular communication occurring in specialized gaps known as synapses.
Glial cells, in contrast, support neurons by providing protection and maintaining homeostasis. Essential to healthy functioning neurons, glia perform a diverse range of functions, such as nutrient provision, regulation of ion concentration, mediating immune response, and the removal of cellular waste. Glial cell types include astrocytes, ependymal cells, microglia, oligodendrocytes, satellite cells (PNS) and schwann cells (PNS).
Below is a full list of major CNS neuron and glia cell types, a short description of their function, and related neurodegenerative disease research:
The cortex is the largest part of the brain, and is responsible for higher thought processes such as language, memory and the processing of sensory information. Our mouse and rat cortical neurons could be suited to studies into conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia. For example, shrinkage of the cortical and hippocampal regions of the brain is typical in patients with severe Alzheimer’s disease.
The hippocampus is responsible for the processing of long-term memory and emotional responses. Our rat and mouse hippocampal neurons could be applied to research into conditions including Epilepsy and Dementia.
The striatum is one of the main components of the basal ganglia and is essential for controlling voluntary bodily movement. Researchers to study and treat conditions involving involuntary movements such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease could utilize mouse and rat striatal neurons.
The role of the cerebellum is to receive sensory information and then regulate motor movements. Unlike all other neuronal cell types, which employ GABA as a neurotransmitter, cerebellar granular cells utilize glutamate. Our rat cerebellar neurons are ideal for studies into conditions, which include ataxia and tremor.
Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG)
Dorsal root ganglion, also called spinal ganglion, is the ganglion of the posterior root of each spinal segmental nerve, containing the cell bodies of the unipolar primary sensory neurons. Dorsal root ganglion cells are pseudounipolar cells. Pseudounipolar cells have two axons rather than an axon and dendrite. One axon extends centrally toward the spinal cord; the other axon extends toward the skin or muscle. Our rat dorsal root ganglion neurons can be applied to various neuropathic pain and sensory research.
The hypothalamus synthesizes and secretes neurohomones, which stimulate or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones. It plays a pivotal role in controlling body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles. Our hypothalamus neurons can be applied to research into hypothalamic diseases such as various appetite and sleep disorders.
Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cell type of the central nervous system and provide essential physical and metabolic support to other neuronal cells. Increasingly, evidence shows that astrocytes are pivotal in regulating myelination, the process of coating axons in myelin, which increases the speed at which electrical impulses are transmitted. Astrocyte dysfunction is believed to underlie the pathology of conditions which include trauma, stroke and multiple sclerosis1. They also play a role in:
- Regulates electrical impulses, synaptic transmission
- Metabolic support
- Transmitter Uptake and Release
- Regulates glycogen, blood flow and ion concentration
- Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)
Microglia represent the main immune cells within the central nervous system and perform a similar function to macrophages. Our rat microglial cells are ideal for research into conditions such as aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Ependymal – Provides CNS structural support by lining ventricles in the brain and central canal of the spinal cord. Additionally, these cells are also involved in production of cerebrospinal fluid.
Oligodendrocytes – Provide insulation to CNS through creation of myelin sheath. It is estimated that a single oligodendrocyte can protect 50 axons.
Are you interested to learn more? Feel free to speak with our primary cell culture experts for customized support on the use of our primary neuronal cells, media and 3D cell culture products in your experiments.
Primary neurons and glia can be used in many neural research applications. Neuroscience research commonly focuses on understanding the cellular mechanisms of our central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as, the pathologies of neurodegenerative disease.
Researchers will commonly use neurons and glial cells when investigating:
- Neurotransmitter Function
- Gene Expression
- Signaling Pathways
- Drug/Compound Screening
- Advanced Cell Culture Models
How Can I Use Micro Array Electrode (MEA) Technology in my Neurotoxicity Studies?
Neurotoxicity studies requires gaining understanding of individual functionality and connectivity of neurons and synapses. Multi-well Micro Array Electrode (MEA) technology provides insights on both single cell and network activity of neurons. This technology was utilized for electrophysiological assessment of neurons to determine neural activity and connectivity. In this proconvulsant neurotoxicity risk study Lonza Rat cortical neurons were assessed for functionality by measuring action potential, synchronization and oscillations on the MaestroTM MEA platform.
Functional Assay of Neural Activity with Cell-Based Neural Culture Models and Microelectrode Array Technology for Proconvulsant Risk Assessment in the Neutox Pilot StudyLonza and Axion Biosystems’ poster from the 2019 SOT meeting discussing the use of primary cortical cell models and microelectrode array (MEA) technology for neurotoxicology and safety pharmacology assessment applications.
Yes! In fact, when using Lonza’s NucleofectorTM Technology and adherent neural cells, you can achieve up to 70% transfection efficiency. A unique combination of electrical parameters, cell-type specific NucleofectorTM Kits and Optimized Protocols helps you achieve immediate transfection success in virtually any neural cell type. Results below show the transfection efficiencies achieved when using our 4D-NucleofectorTM Y Unit for adherent transfection of primary neurons or glial cells after several days of culture.
Transfection Efficiencies of Primary Neural Cells Post NucleofectionTransfection efficiencies achieved with the NucleofectorTM Technology for primary neural cells. Different primary neural and glial cells were transfected by Nucleofection with a plasmid encoding either eGFP or eYFP (cortical rat neurons, data courtesy of J. Köhler, R. Klein, MPI for Neurobiology, Munich, Germany). Transfection efficiencies were determined by fluorescence microscopy or flow cytometry after 24 - 72 hours.
- Relevant results – Primary neural cells are isolated directly from the source nervous tissue; hence, they are a more biologically relevant cell model than cell line
- Less time and effort – No more tissue dissection and animal handling needed. Just thaw and initiate your experiments
- Data reproducibility – Produced as large batches, our cells undergo extensive QC testing. Lonza’s cryopreserved batch-tested animal primary cells can provide higher data reproducibility than self-prepared cells
- Authenticated – Cryopreserved cells show comparable results and performance to fresh cells. We perform thorough characteristic morphology and staining tests to confirm cells are specific to the tissue origin and cell type
- High quality – Lonza has standardized production procedures and follows strict guidelines to meet high quality control requirements
- Quality tested – All cells test negative for mycoplasma, bacteria, yeast and fungi. A Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is available for each cell type and lot
- Support – All of our products come with excellent complimentary scientific support. Our support teams are cross-trained in cells, media, traditional and 3D cell culture and transfection, helping you set up your experiments successfully
Explore our Neural Cell Types
Yes! Lonza offers optimized protocols and recommended neural growth media for all of its cell types. In fact, Lonza guarantees the performance of CloneticsTM Cells (neurons and glia included) when cultured with our recommended media and following protocols.
In fact, when culturing our Rat Cortical Neurons (R-CX-500) with PNGMTM Media BulletKitTM Media viability was better on average across 8 experiments then a leading competitor.
ViaLightPlus Assay in PNGMTM Media of Rat Cortical NeuronsComparison of survival of CloneticsTM Primary Rat Cortical Neurons cultured in PNGMTM Medium vs. Company A’s medium. Cryopreserved cells were thawed and plated in laminin-coated, 96 well plates at ~1000 cells per square mm (40% of the recommended seeding density) using either PNGMTM Medium or Company A’s medium. Cells were cultured without feeding for six days, at which time cell viability was assessed using the ViaLightTM Plus Cell Proliferation and Cytotoxicity BioAssay Kit. Results represent the average of 8 experiments.
Lonza Offers the Following Media BulletKitTM Media for Culturing Neural Cells:
PNGMTM Primary Neuron Growth Medium Kit – Specifically developed for culturing embryonic rat and mouse neurons. This serum-free medium allows for long-term maintenance and growth of neuronal cells, and maintains pure populations of neuronal cells without the need of an astrocyte feeder layer.
PNGM-ATM Adult Primary Neuron Growth Medium Similar to our PNGMTM but formulated specifically for culturing adult primary neurons and cerebellar granule cells.
AGMTM Primary Astrocyte Growth Medium – Used for culturing human and animal astrocytes in serum-free environment, in BulletKitTM format. This media has been tested and guaranteed to perform with all CloneticsTM Primary Astrocytes.
Neural Knowledge Center
The Lonza Neural Knowledge Center is dedicated to sharing educational articles and resources related to everything in neuroscience. Click on the links below to explore different articles. Information covered will range from basic brain biology to current cell applications in neural research.
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