The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and their application to patient-specific disease models offers new opportunities for studying the pathophysiology of neurological disorders. However, current methods for culturing iPSC-derived neuronal cells result in clustering of neurons, which precludes the analysis of individual neurons and defined neuronal networks. To address this challenge, cultures of human neurons on micropatterned surfaces are developed that promote neuronal survival over extended periods of time. This approach facilitates studies of neuronal development, cellular trafficking, and related mechanisms that require assessment of individual neurons and specific network connections. Importantly, micropatterns support the long-term stability of cultured neurons, which enables time-dependent analysis of cellular processes in living neurons. The approach described in this paper allows mechanistic studies of human neurons, both in terms of normal neuronal development and function, as well as time-dependent pathological processes, and provides a platform for testing of new therapeutics in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Keywords: aging; human induced pluripotent stem cells; long-term neuronal culture; microcontact printing technology; neurodegenerative disorders.
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