They grow neurons on a microchip and check for substances that inhibit the formation of a network between the cells.
Scientists from the "Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften" (ISAS) in Dortmund have invented a rapid method for screening neurotoxins: The "Miniaturisation for the Life Sciences" group used a microchip to pattern human neurons as a hexagonal array of nodes and let the neurons grow connections to build a network. When the cells were exposed to a neurotoxin, however, the growth of this network was disturbed, and could be used to quantify neurotoxicity. Jonathan West, who led the project, has called the method the "network formation assay" (NFA).
"The formation of connections between neurons is one of the basic principles of memory and learning, and its disturbance is frequently a clinical sign of neurotoxicity", says Christoph van Thriel from the "Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung" (IfADo) in Dortmund, a collaborator on the project. "The NFA therefore represents an in vitro model that is comparable to the in vivo state." Thus, the NFA can improve the ability to predict the neurotoxic effects of a chemical and ultimately reduce animal testing.
In addition, a typical NFA screen takes only a few hours, enabling scientists to test a great number of substances in a very short time. The need for rapid screening methods has grown since the EU has implemented the REACH legislation.
Jonathan West and his colleagues have recently published their NFA method in the "Lab on a Chip" journal. This month it was highlighted in the RSC "Chemical Technology" magazine.
Tinka Wolf | idw
Snap, Digest, Respire
20.01.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Scientists initiate first ethical guidelines for organs cultivated in vitro
20.01.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy