It is widely accepted that data obtained from primary cells is not only desired, but, most relevant when trying to study physiological interactions. Experimentation in primary cells allows a deeper and more physiologically relevant view into the cellular function of proteins and enzymes that will allow the design of more specific drugs with meaningful and specific targets.
Chipman et al. (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) have developed a new cell-based system “mimicking” in vitro Mature Neuromuscular Junction (NMJs). (1)
NMJs play an important role in the functionality of Motor neurons.
Their dysfunction is seen in the early stages of various Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs) like the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS), Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA)…
To meet these needs, Chipman et al. have created a clever co-culture system using Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Motor Neurons (ESCMNs) with primary myotubes. They also reported that NCAM-/- ESCMN/myofiber co-cultures exhibit the same phenotypes observed in NCAM-/- mice.
This work give hopes to study MNDs in vitro by using motor neurons differentiated from induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS) derived from individuals with ALS and SMA.
Want to know more about cell-based assays and co-culture systems?
(1) Chipman et al. “A Stem-Cell Based Bioassay to Critically Assess the Pathology of Dysfunctional Neuromuscular Junctions” (2014) PLOSone, March 13. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091643
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