Long-term hippocampal slices: a model system for investigating synaptic mechanisms and pathologic processes

J Neurosci Res. 1995 Oct 15;42(3):294-305. doi: 10.1002/jnr.490420303.


Organotypic cultures provide a unique strategy with which to examine many aspects of brain physiology and pathology. Long-term slice cultures from the hippocampus, a region involved in memory encoding and one that exhibits early degeneration in Alzheimer's disease and ischemia, are particularly valuable in this regard due to their expression of synaptic plasticity mechanisms (e.g., long-term potentiation) and responsiveness to pathological insults (e.g., excitotoxicity). Long-term slices can be prepared from hippocampi at the second or third postnatal week of development and thus incorporate a number of relatively mature features; further signs of maturation and the preservation of adult-like characteristics occur over succeeding weeks. The stability of the cultured slice renders it an appropriate model for studying 1) prolonged regulation/stabilization events linked to synaptogenesis and certain forms of plasticity, 2) temporal patterns of cellular atrophy associated with pathogenic conditions such as ischemia and epilepsia, and 3) slow processes associated with aging and age-related pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Synapses / physiology*