Biochemical differentiation of aggregating cell cultures of different fetal rat brain regions

Brain Res. 1977 Sep 16;133(2):329-39. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(77)90768-5.


Rotation-mediated aggregating cell cultures of mechanically dissociated fetal rat brains divided into three (telencephalon, mesencephalon-diencephalon and rhombencephalon), or two (telencephalon and mesencephalon-diencephalon plus rhombencephalon) parts were examined for their biochemical differentiation by measuring the specific activities of choline acetyltransferase, acetylcholinesterase, glutamic acid decarboxylase, tyrosine 3-monooxygenase, aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase, catechol methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase. The results showed that such parts yielded cultures that were relatively enriched for acetylcholine-synthesizing (telencephalon) or catecholamine-synthesizing (mesencephalon-diencephalon and mesencephalon-diencephalon plus rhombencephalon) enzymes. For cultures which were derived from two brain divisions, the sum of the total activity for each enzyme in the parts after 30 days equalled that in whole brain cultures derived from the same group of embryos, suggesting that development of these enzymes was unaffected by division of the brain in two. In experiments to determine the effects of culture conditions on this development, chronic administration of certain drugs was found to selectively influence the specific activity of certain neurotransmitter metabolizing enzymes. Thus, in cultures of whole brain, ascorbic acid (0.2 mM) decreased tyrosine 3-monooxygenase and aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase while other enzymes were slightly increased; and in cultures of telencephalon and mesencephalon-diencephalon plus rhombencephalon, N6, O2'-dibutyryladenosine 3',5'-cyclic phosphate (0.2 mM) decreased the specific activities of choline acetyltransferase acetylcholinesterase, glutamic acid decarboxylase and monoamine oxidase. These results demonstrate the feasibility of growing these cultures for pharmacological studies in developmental neurobiology.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Cell Aggregation*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Dopa Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Dopa Decarboxylase
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase