Brain in a bottle: A new culture medium for growing and testing neuronal cells in vitro

In vivo neural electrical activity is the essence of nervous system function, controlling sensory modalities, emotion, memory, behavior, and basic survival functions. Therefore, to study neurons in the laboratory it is important that in vitro neuronal models also support such electrical activity to reflect fundamental brain functions – and most human neuronal cultures are currently grown in vitro using the classic culture media DMEM (Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium), Neurobasal, or a mixture of the two. In contrast, laboratory experiments employing electrophysiological techniques – such as patch clamping (which allows the study of single or multiple ion channels in cells), calcium imaging – on brain slices or in culture are performed in a medium of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF).

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