Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Jun 15;180(2):243-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2009.03.016. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Culturing thick brain slices: an interstitial 3D microperfusion system for enhanced viability.

Author information

Laboratory for Neuroengineering, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 313 Ferst Drive, NW, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Brain slice preparations are well-established models for a wide spectrum of in vitro investigations in the neuroscience discipline. However, these investigations are limited to acute preparations or thin organotypic culture preparations due to the lack of a successful method that allows culturing of thick organotypic brain slices. Thick brain slice cultures suffer necrosis due to ischemia deep in the tissue resulting from a destroyed circulatory system and subsequent diffusion-limited supply of nutrients and oxygen. Although thin organotypic brain slice cultures can be successfully cultured using a well-established roller-tube method (a monolayer organotypic culture) (Gahwiler B H. Organotypic monolayer cultures of nervous tissue. J Neurosci Methods. 1981; 4: 329-342) or a membrane-insert method (up to 1-4 cell layers, <150 microm) (Stoppini L, Buchs PA, Muller D. A simple method for organotypic cultures of neural tissue. J Neurosci Methods 1991; 37: 173-182), these methods fail to support thick tissue preparations. A few perfusion methods (using submerged or interface/microfluidic chambers) have been reported to enhance the longevity (up to few hours) of acute slice preparations (up to 600 microm thick) (Hass HL, Schaerer B, Vosmansky M. A simple perfusion chamber for study of nervous tissue slices in vitro. J Neurosci Methods 1979; 1: 323-325; Nicoll RA, Alger BE. A simple chamber for recording from submerged brain slices. J Neurosci Methods 1981; 4: 153-156; Passeraub PA, Almeida AC, Thakor NV. Design, microfabrication and characterization of a microfluidic chamber for the perfusion of brain tissue slices. J Biomed Dev 2003; 5: 147-155). Here, we report a unique interstitial microfluidic perfusion technique to culture thick (700 microm) organotypic brain slices. The design of the custom-made microperfusion chamber facilitates laminar, interstitial perfusion of oxygenated nutrient medium throughout the tissue thickness with concomitant removal of depleted medium and catabolites. We examined the utility of this perfusion method to enhance the viability of the thick organotypic brain slice cultures after 2 days and 5 days in vitro (DIV). We investigated the range of amenable flow rates that enhance the viability of 700 microm thick organotypic brain slices compared to the unperfused control cultures. Our perfusion method allows up to 84.6% viability (p<0.01) and up to 700 microm thickness, even after 5 DIV. Our results also confirm that these cultures are functionally active and have their in vivo cyto-architecture preserved. Prolonged viability of thick organotypic brain slice cultures will benefit scientists investigating network properties of intact organotypic neuronal networks in a reliable and repeatable manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center