Chick Spinal Somatic Motoneurons in Culture
Cultures enriched in spinal somatic motoneurons are increasingly used as a test system for the detection of factors that are trophic or toxic for motoneurons (e.g., Schnaar and Schaffner, 1981; Calof and Reichardt, 1984; Dohrmann et al., 1986, 1987; McManaman et al., 1989, 1990; Juurlink et al., 1991a). Motoneurons in such cultures are obtained from embryonic spinal cord. There are basically two approaches whereby one can obtain cultures highly enriched in spinal motoneurons. One approach takes advantage of the fact that peripheral terminals of motoneurons can take up fluorescent labels and retrogradely transport these labels to the somas. Spinal cords can then be dissociated and labeled motoneurons isolated using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (e.g., Calof and Reichardt, 1984; Schaffner et al., 1987); this approach is labor-intensive and yields small numbers of neurons, of which only about 80% are labeled motoneurons. There are also questions concerning the effects of the tracer on the motoneurons (Smith et al., 1986). The second approach takes advantage of the fact that the buoyant density of motoneurons is significantly different from that of the other neural cell populations; here motoneurons are separated from other cell populations by centrifuging cells through a density gradient (Schnaar and Schaffner, 1981; Dohrmann et al., 1986). This approach has the advantages that, technically, it is much simpler than the fluorescence-activated sorting method and much larger numbers of motoneurons can be isolated.
KeywordsSpinal Cord Dorsal Root Ganglion Pasteur Pipet Muscle Extract Embryonic Spinal Cord
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