Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based technologies offer an unprecedented possibility to investigate defects occurring during neuronal differentiation in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, but the density and intricacy of intercellular connections in neuronal cultures challenge currently available analytic methods. Low-density neuronal cultures facilitate the morphometric and functional analysis of neurons. We describe a differentiation protocol to generate low-density neuronal cultures (∼2,500 neurons/cm2) from human iPSC-derived neural stem cells/early neural progenitor cells. We generated low-density cultures using cells from 3 individuals. We also evaluated the morphometric features of neurons derived from 2 of these individuals, one harboring a microdeletion on chromosome 15q11.2 and the other without the microdeletion. An approximately 7.5-fold increase in the density of dendritic filopodia was observed in the neurons with the microdeletion, consistent with previous reports. Low-density neuronal cultures enable facile and unbiased comparisons of iPSC-derived neurons from different individuals or clones.
Keywords: Human induced pluripotent stem cells; Low-density neuronal cultures.