Modeling myelination in vitro allows mechanistic study of developmental myelination and short-term myelin maintenance, but analyses possible to carry out using currently available models are usually limited because of high cell density and the lack of separation between neurons and myelinating cells. Furthermore, regeneration studies of myelinated systems after lesion require compartmentalization of neuronal cell bodies, axons, and myelinating cells. Here we describe a compartmentalized method using microfluidics that allows live-cell imaging at the single-cell level to follow short- and long-term dynamic interactions of neurons and myelinating cells and large-scale analyses, e.g., RNA sequencing on pure or highly enriched neurons or myelinating cells, separately.
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We thank Dr. Roman Chrast and Dr. Luca Bartesaghi for advices on microfluidic device dimensions and cell culture, and Dr. Noo Li Jeon for producing Master molds for the microfluidic devices. This work was supported by Swiss National Science Foundation grants PP00P3_1139163, PP00P3_163759, and 31003A_173072 to C.J.
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