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Something to get excited about! Advances in in vitro neuronal activity testing.

Assessing neuronal activity is important in both safety assessment and efficacy testing for potential new CNS drugs. The use of early stage screening techniques allows new therapies to be developed more rapidly with fewer liabilities. However, developing a human model for identifying changes in neuronal activity has proved challenging. Early human iPSC-derived neurons lacked complex burst organisation reducing their utility in electrophysiological neuronal activity prediction.

The industry is, therefore, excited by new advances in this field with the introduction of human iPSC-derived neurons (Cellular Dynamics International’s iCell GlutaNeurons) which form a complex neural network exhibiting robust and early detectable spike activity with increases in burst organisation and synchrony over time. Cyprotex has been one of the first companies to evaluate the cells. Using expertise in MEA, Cyprotex assessed the new human iPSC-derived glutamatergic neurons alone and in co-cultures with astrocytes and human iPSC-derived GABAergic neurons. Although further characterisation is required, the system demonstrates value as an early in vitro model for understanding developmental and pharmacological responses using sensitive MEA techniques.

Cyprotex presented the data from the study at the Society of Toxicology conference in Baltimore from the 12-16th March 2017.

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