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Nat Protoc. 2007;2(1):152-60.

Production of dissociated sensory neuron cultures and considerations for their use in studying neuronal function and plasticity.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, 3350 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Dissociated primary sensory neurons are commonly used to study growth factor-dependent cell survival, axon outgrowth, differentiation and basic mechanisms of sensory physiology and pain. Spinal or trigeminal sensory neurons can be collected from embryos, neonates or adults, treated with enzymes that degrade the extracellular matrix, triturated and grown in defined media with or without growth factors and additional animal sera. Production of cultures can take as little as 2.5 h. Cells can be used almost immediately or maintained for as long as 1 month. Ease of production and the ability to control growth conditions make sensory neuron culture a powerful model system for studying basic neurobiology of central and peripheral nervous systems.

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