Cortical spheroids display oscillatory network dynamics†
Three-dimensional brain cultures can facilitate the study of central nervous system function and disease, and one of the most important components that they present is neuronal activity on a network level. Here we demonstrate network activity in rodent cortical spheroids while maintaining the networks intact in their 3D state. Networks developed by nine days in culture and became more complex over time. To measure network activity, we imaged neurons in rat and mouse spheroids labelled with a calcium indicator dye, and in mouse spheroids expressing GCaMP. Network activity was evident when we electrically stimulated spheroids, was abolished with glutamatergic blockade, and was altered by GABAergic blockade or partial glutamatergic blockade. We quantified correlations and distances between somas with micron-scale spatial resolution. Spheroids seeded at as few as 4000 cells gave rise to emergent network events, including oscillations. These results are the first demonstration that self-assembled rat and mouse spheroids exhibit network activity consistent with in vivo network events. These results open the door to experiments on neuronal networks that require fewer animals and enable high throughput experiments on network-perturbing alterations in neurons and glia.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip HOT Articles 2021