Network vs Individual Bursting Neurons

Motor Neurons and MEA
Dysregulated bursting is at the root of many motor neuron/neuromuscular junction disease. ArunA Biomedical teaming with Axion Biosystems have generated relevant bursting data from our Mouse Motor Neurons cultured on Axion-Bioystem’s Maestro MEA.

Figure: Mouse Motor Neuron Network Modulation by Bicuculline-ckeck out the entire presentation to learn more: GFP+ Motor Neurons: Development and in-vitro Functional Assessment on Microelectrode Arrays

Protocol User’s Guide for Culturing Motor Neuron on MEA(pdf – 679Kb)

Name Catalog # Type Species Applications Size Price
Motor Neurons-GFP+ Quick Start Kit mMN7205.QS Primary Neurons M Cell Assays 750,000 $349
Motor Neurons-GFP+ HTS Kit mMN7205-HTS Primary Neurons M Cell Assays 4 X 750,000 $989
GDNF (Human, Mouse) PR27022-2 Protein H; M 2 ug 10 ug $108 $205
AB2™ Basal Neural Medium AB27011.3 Cell Growth Media H; M Cell Assays 500 ml $69

We will continue providing you content we believe important. Should you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you and we stand ready to serve you and your team.

Pete Shuster-CEO and Owner, Neuromics, 612-801-1007, pshuster@neuromics.com

The Importance of in vivo Like Astroglial-Neuron Co-Cultures

The Power of Neuromics’-Aruna Biomedical’s hAstroPro™-NeuroNet™ Co-Cultures. We are pleased to be the first to market with our in vivo like co-cultures. Here are key points of what make these cultures unique:

  • Pure, Potent and Proven

  • Proof That These areTrue Co-Cultures

  •  Co-Cultures vs Neuron Only Cultures

What have we learned? The mix of Astroglia vs Neurons can have a dramatic impact on your data end points. This can lead to wrong conclusion being drawn from your tox and compound/small molecule neurodegenerative disease assays. We stand ready to serve you and your team. Questions? Don not hesitate to call 612-801-1007 or e-mail me pshuster@neuromics.com. Pete Shuster, CEO and Owner, Neuromics

The Dance Between Immune System and Stem Cell Health

We named it the  immunoLinkTM 
We have been testing a growing number of Clients with our Quantibody Arrays. Many of of these clients have Autoimmune Disorder Diseases. These range from Rheumatoid Arthritis to Multiple Sclerosis.

These arrays are designed to precisely measure factors or markers(proteins) that are dysregulated by these diseases. We measure the levels of these biomarkers in our Clients’ Blood serum. The arrays have also been used to measure the levels of markers in plasma and cell culture supernatants.

Based on results, we are finding links between immune system and stem cell health. We call this the immunoLink. The link shows that when immune/inflammatory response markers are elevated, markers related to stem cell health are depleted.

Here we see the immune/inflammatory response markers IL-6, MCP-1 and TNF-alpha are elevated in our Clients with autoimmunity (A) vs Healthy Controls (HC). We also see lower levels of G-CSF and GM-CSF in these Clients.

G-CSF and GM-CSF are know to play a role in increasing circulating stem cells. GM-CSF is also know to be secreted by Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) AND GM-CSF has anti-apoptotic functions on neurons, and is neuroprotective in animal stroke models while G-CSF has a prominent effect on the differentiation of adult neural stem cells (see: BMC Neuroscience 2007, doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-88).

To us, the immunoLink means achieving a balance between immune system and stem cell health.

We provide immune system balancing and stem cell activating therapies for our Autoimmune Disease Clients and Children with Autism. We first do baseline and follow on testing (each 6 months) to determine how well the therapies are working. You can now benefit from one of our first Stem Cell Activating Product named Stem-Kine.

Dr. Joe Smarda, an applied immunologist, is user and promoter of Stem-Kine and oh, by the way. He is a European Porsche Cup Champion and pilots our Stem-Kine/Neuromics sponsored race car.

Our goal is to bring the many markers we test to healthier levels. As stem cell transplants become more common, moderating levels of immune/inflammatory response in patients could improve outcomes. If you would like to learn more, you can contact me at pshuster@neuromics.com or 612-801-1007.

Mesenchymal Differentiation Pathways

I will soon be profiling Dr. Jim Musick of Vitro Biopharma.  He manufacturers and provides us a wealth of expertise on our Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) and MSCGro™ Mesenchymal Stem Cell Media.  As the demand for these grow, we are receiving a variety of questions on differentiation. Specifically, researchers desire to drive these cells to specific progenitor and cell phenotypes like Osteocytes, Adipocytes and Chondroytes.

I would like to share a pathway map that gives a snapshot of these pathways:

Regenerative Biology of the Spine and Spinal Cord. Edited by: Rahul Jandial, Mike Y. Chen, Bihong T. Chen and Joseph Ciacci. ISBN: 978-1-4614-4089-5. Publication date: May 25, 2012. Series: Special Books

I will continue to post information that will enable the researchers to harness the power of Mesenchymal Stem Cells.

Gerry Shaw-Master of World Class Neuronal/Glial Markers

Build it and They will Come

Gerry and One of His Triumph's MCs
Gerry and One of His Triumph’s MCs

I am pleased to profile Dr. Gerry Shaw, a Professor at the University of Florida and also the Head of EnCor Biotechnology Inc.  His story is a guide for incubating and spinning out a successful biotech company (EnCor Biotechnology, Inc.) from a university research laboratory. It should provide an inspiration for fledgling entrepreneurs as the model required little capital investment and has enjoyed profitable growth.

The Backstory

Gerry’s major area of research interest can be summarized as the study of cellular changes resulting from central nervous system damage and disease states. These changes help neuroscience researchers understand the progression and hopefully discover root causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. Understanding which proteins are involved in particular disease states also has the potential of identifying targets for therapies.

The story starts with Gerry’s Post Doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, in what was at the time West Germany. Here he joined the world renowned laboratory of Klaus Weber and Mary Osborn. This lab had pioneering several important techniques, notably SDS-PAGE for protein analysis and the use of antibodies in immunocytochemistry. Later, after Gerry left the same lab made key contributions leading to the routine use of RNAi in “knock down” of normal cellular proteins. The lab had developed antibodies to tag the subunit proteins of microtubules, microfilaments, intermediate filaments and other cellular proteins, and then used these antibodies to visualize the proteins in immunofluorescence microscopy and on western blots. This enabled researchers to look at changes in the cellular expression of these proteins in powerful new way. These methods have become vital tools for understanding normal cellular function and what happens when cells transition from healthy to diseased states. This lab was an ideal location for Gerry to learn how to make quality monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Good antibody reagents are vital for the correct interpretation of immunofluorescence microscopy and western blots, and he was soon supplying his reagents to friends, collaborators and other researchers all around the world. Success is value as antibodies that do not as work as expected waste research time and resources, while quality reagents soon become appreciated and may get to be standard lab reagents.

University of Florida

The University of Florida, in Gainesville imported his expertise when Gerry joined the institute in 1986. Here he continued to make antibodies to Neurofilaments or NFs and other Neuronal-Glial Markers. It’s hard to keep a good thing a secret and Gerry faced growing demand from all over for these reagents. This proved a drain both financially and in terms of time commitment, as well as a significant conflict of interest with his basic biomedical research program.

MAP2_Doering IHC Image: Co-culture of embryonic mouse hippocampal neurons and astrocytes. Primary embryonic hippocampal neurons at 7 days in vitro, were stained with Microtubule Associated Protein-2 (MAP, green) to enable the visualization of the dendritic arbors. These neurons were cultured on top of a monolayer of primary cortical astrocytes, stained with an antibody directed against

Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP, red). The cell nuclei were visualized by staining with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI, blue). BMC Image of the Month October 2010

As a result Gerry took his first entrepreneurial step by selling his most popular reagents in bulk initially to Chemicon (now Millipore-Merck). Like any new business venture, he did not really know what to expect. It should come as no surprise that the reagents sold like hot cakes and the check started rolling in. Other immunoreagent companies approached Gerry and soon he was supplying antibodies to pretty much every major biotechnology vendor.

ABC Biologicals to EnCor Biotechnology Inc.

Success breeds success and as sales increased over the 1990s, it was time to form an independent business and so ABC Biologicals Inc. was incorporated in 1999 initially to buy equipment and develop licensing agreements. Since Gerry had income from sales, he was in the unusual and enviable position of not needing grants, investors, loans or cash from any other source, and so could proceed with almost total independence. The company was renamed EnCor Biotechnology Inc. in 2002, and at the same time moved into the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, a lab dedicated to commercialization of intellectual property generated by the faculty of the University of Florida. The University of Florida is unusually experienced at this and is well known for launching Gatorade, Trusopt and many other products. After 4 years EnCor “graduated” from the Incubator and now occupies a facility in Gainesville. The company now has almost 100 products with many more under development. This is good news for the Neuroscience community.

The EnCor-Neuromics Connection

Neuromics provides EnCor Biotechnology reagents to researchers studying neuro-degeneration, neuro-regeneration, neuro-development, neural stem cells, mood disorders, brain injury and spinal cord injury. My customers have found EnCor’s reagents to be rock solid and versatile.

In addition, Gerry and his team have proved adept at culturing our E18 hippocampal neurons and ESC derived hN2TM primary neurons. This is a big plus as we can actually see how the cells and markers could resonate together for use in cell based assays.

Hippo_MAPT_DC1 Image: E18 hippocampal neurons stained with Tau (red) and Doublecortin (green). The two proteins overlap in the proximal dendrites (yellow) Axons (low doublecortin content) are red. Blue staining is the nuclear DNA.

Futures

I am excited by the glimpse of the future that Gerry shared. We can expect many new, novel and important markers in the coming months and years. In addition, he will be manufacturing various Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). These kits have the potential to help clinicians diagnose the early onset of diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

For example, his company currently sells an ELISA kit for sensitive detection of Phosphorylated Neurofilament-H (pNF-H). Expression of this protein is up regulated in a variety of damage and disease states, and can be used to accurately quantify this up regulation. The kit can also detect pNF-H in the sera and spinal cord fluid (CSF) of animals with spinal cord and brain lesions. This protein is not normally found in sera or CSF, so its presence indicates recent axonal injury as a result of either damage or disease. This suggests pNF-H is a useful biomarker of neuronal and more specifically axonal injury or degeneration, a suggestion supported by a growing list of basic science publications on various animal models and patient types from Gerry’s research lab (e.g. Shaw et al. 2005, Lewis et al. 2008, Boylan et al. 2009, Lewis et al. 2010).

Given the capabilities of EnCor’s markers, the development of more kits is coming. There could be a day in the not distant future where they give clinicians tools to better diagnose and monitor serious neurodegenerative diseases, leading to better disease treatment and management.

I will keep you informed on Gerry’s and EnCor’s future developments.

Coming Soon-Dr. Gerry Shaw

Zen and the Art of Bio-marker Production

Up next will be Dr. Gerry Shaw.  Gerry is the founder and head of EnCor Biotechnology, Inc. His company is recognized for creating markers that are engines of Neuroscience and Stem Cell Research.

Dr. Gerry Shaw with Triumph MC

Dr. Gerry Shaw with Triumph MC

I am pleased to represent his company’s reagents. They are well designed, thoroughly tested and proven to work in my customers’ many application.

They have proven especially effective in working in cell based assays using our eSC derived hNP1 human neurons and e18 primary rat hippocampal neurons.

Applications include the study of TBI, SCI, ALS, AD, MS and PD.

Image:  hN2 cells stained with our chicken polyclonal antibody to Vimentin, in red. Islands of Hn2 cells form after 4 days in culture forming beautiful flower like structures. Vimentin is a well established marker of early differentiating neuronal lineage cells. Taken with a 10X objective lens. Blue staining is the nuclear DNA.

hN2 Cells stained with Vimentin

hN2 Cells stained with Vimentin

Harnessing the Power of Neural Stem Cells

I wanted to share an important presentation by Dr. Steve Stice. He is a featured researcher in “News Behind the Neuroscience News”.

“Does amplification of neural progenitor cells derived from embryonic stem cells solve problems of cell production and FDA safety standards?”
Steven L. Stice, PhD
Professor, GRA Eminent Scholar
Director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center at University of Georgia
CSO, Aruna Biomedical Inc.

More on STEMEZ hN2 Primary Human Neurons

My company’s STEMEZTM hN2 Primary Human Neuron Discovery Kits have been a frequent topic on “News Behind the Neuroscience News”. My friends at Aruna Biomedical continue to broaden the capabilities of these Kits based on customer feedback.

I am seeing increasing demand for these cells as these capabilities are published. Here’s the latest:

A. Young, D.W. Machacek, S.K. Dhara, P.R. MacLeish, M. Benveniste, M.C. Dodla, C.D. Sturkie and S.L. Stice. Ion channels and ionotrophic receptors in a human embryonic stem cell derived neural progenitors. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.04.039. Markers used:…mouse nonoclonal anti nestin (neuromics), mouse monoclonal anti tuj-1 (neuromics)…

Abstract: Human neural progenitor cells differentiated from human embryonic stem cells offer a potential cell source for studying neurodegenerative diseases and for drug screening assays. Previously, we demonstrated that human neural progenitors could be maintained in a proliferative state with the addition of leukemia inhibitory factor and basic fibroblast growth factor. Here we demonstrate that 96 h after removal of basic fibroblast growth factor the neural progenitor cell culture was significantly altered and cell replication halted. Fourteen days after the removal of basic fibroblast growth factor, most cells expressed microtubule-associated protein 2 and TUJ1, markers characterizing a post-mitotic neuronal phenotype as well as neural developmental markers Cdh2 and Gbx2. Real-time PCR was performed to determine the ionotrophic receptor subunit expression profile. Differentiated neural progenitors express subunits of glutamatergic, GABAergic, nicotinic, purinergic and transient receptor potential receptors. In addition, sodium and calcium channel subunits were also expressed. Functionally, virtually all the hNP cells tested under whole-cell voltage clamp exhibited delayed rectifier potassium channel currents and some differentiated cells exhibited tetrodotoxin-sensitive, voltage-dependent sodium channel current. Action potentials could also be elicited by current injection under whole-cell current clamp in a minority of cells. These results indicate that removing basic fibroblast growth factor from the neural progenitor cell cultures leads to a post-mitotic state, and has the capability to produce excitable cells that can generate action potentials, a landmark characteristic of a neuronal phenotype. This is the first report of an efficient and simple means of generating human neuronal cells for ionotrophic receptor assays and ultimately for electrically active human neural cell assays for drug discovery.

STEMEZ hN2 Cells-Electrophysiology Data

STEMEZ hN2 Cells-Electrophysiology Data

 

 

 

 

 

I will continue to post updates here.

Spinal Cord Injury Repair

I wanted to feature yet more research on spinal cord injury repair.

Dr. Mark Tuszynski and his team of researchers at USCD recently published work that tested their hypothesis that chemotropic mechanisms would guide regenerating spinal cord axons to appropriate brainstem targets.

Laura Taylor Alto, Leif A Havton, James M Conner, Edmund R Hollis II, Armin Blesch & Mark H Tuszynski. Chemotropic guidance facilitates axonal regeneration and synapse formation after spinal cord injury. Nature Neuroscience. Published online: 2 August 2009 | doi:10.1038/nn.2365.

Their study included use of Neuromics’ NT-3 Antibody.

Spinal Cord Injury and Substance-P

I have featured Dr. Matt Ramer  and his research on Spinal Cord Injury. The focus was sensory and autonomic neuron repair.

As an update, I would like to share a publication that references SCI and our Substance-P antibody. Here Dr. Paul Dolber et al. found Substance P detected immunohistochemically in the sacral parasympathetic nucleus was significantly higher in 12 SCI rats than in 12 spinally intact rats (P = 0.008), suggesting substance P as a plausible candidate for the primary afferent neurotransmitter. raises the possibility that substance P may be important in the afferent limb of the spinal micturition reflex that develops about a week after spinal cord transection. This could provide a clue to alleviating urinary disorders related to SCI.

Xiaoyang Zhang, Kristy L.Douglas, Huixia Jin, Bassem M. Eldaif, Rashid Nassar, Matthew O. Fraser, and Paul C. Dolber. Sprouting of substance P-expressing primary afferent central terminals and spinal micturition reflex NK1 receptor dependence after spinal cord injury. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 295: R2084-R2096, 2008. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.90653.2008.

…guinea pig anti- Substance-P (cat. no. GP14103, Neuromics, Minneapolis, MN) used at 1:1,000…