Freshly frozen E18 rat cortical cells can generate functional neural networks after standard cryopreservation and thawing procedures

Cytotechnology. 2015 May;67(3):419-26. doi: 10.1007/s10616-014-9700-9. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


Primary dissociated brain tissue from rodents is widely used in a variety of different scientific methods to investigate cellular processes in vitro. Often, for this purpose cell cultures need to be generated just on time, requiring extensive animal lab infrastructure. We show here that cryopreservation and thawing of dissociated tissue from rat cerebral cortex at embryonic day 18 is feasible without affecting its ability to form functional neuronal networks in vitro. Vitality of fresh and re-thawed cortical cells was comparable, assessed by CellTiter-Blue-assay, CytoTox-ONE assay, immunocytochemical characterization and in vitro neuronal network activity recordings on microelectrode arrays. These findings suggest that planning and execution of experiments might be considerably facilitated by using cryo-preserved neurons instead of acutely dissociated neural cultures due to fewer logistical issues with regard to animal breeding and pregnancy timed preparations.