Neurochemical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 12, pp 1521–1528 | Cite as

Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures: A Model System to Study Basic Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Cell Death, Neuroprotection, and Synaptic Plasticity

  • Irma E. Holopainen


The hippocampus has become one of the most extensively studied areas of the mammalian brain, and its proper function is of utmost importance, particularly for learning and memory. The hippocampus is the most susceptible brain region for damage, and its impaired function has been documented in many human brain diseases, e.g. hypoxia, ischemia, and epilepsy regardless of the age of the affected patients. In addition to experimental in vivo models of these disorders, the investigation of basic anatomical, physiological, and molecular aspects requires an adequate experimental in vitro model, which should meet the requirements for well-preserved representation of various cell types, and functional information processing properties in the hippocampus. In this review, the characteristics of organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHCs) together with the main differences between the in vivo and in vitro preparations are first briefly outlined. Thereafter, the use of OHCs in studies focusing on neuron cell death and synaptic plasticity is discussed.

Key words

Excitotoxicity hippocampal slice cultures nerve cell death neuroprotection plasticity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Clinical PharmacologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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