Globally millions of individuals suffer from chronic pain that has a negative impact on their quality of life. The economic costs of this pain in the US alone is thought to be up to $635 billion per year, meaning it is important that scientists develop a better understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the pain response in human sensory neurons and the effects of different pharmaceuticals on this.
To help develop new pain treatments scientists often use in vitro neuron cultures, which allow them to investigate the molecular cause of pain, to help them find new therapeutic targets and to rapidly screen possible drug candidates.
Conventionally this research has used in vitro cell cultures of non-human mammalian nerve cells. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that such animal models are not physiologically relevant to humans and cannot fully replicate pain reception in humans.
This article is for researchers concerned about the lower reliability of non-human cell cultures on the translation, reliability and impact of their research. Researchers can find out more about how Axol’s human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-Derived Sensory Neurons can be used to help pain research reach its full potential.
Improve the Reliability and Translatability of your Research with Human iPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons
Exciting developments in the field of stem cell biology have allowed Axol to produce viable hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons, which researchers are using as an improved alternative to non-human neuron cultures. hiPSCs represent a more physiologically-relevant, in vitro method of modeling pain perception in humans, providing researchers with the required tools to make important discoveries and find translatable therapeutic targets in humans.
Axol specializes in using these innovations to produce hiPSCs for research into the modeling of diseases and to facilitate enhanced drug discovery.
Axol has specialized in using these recent advances in stem cell technology to create hiPSC-derived cells, with which scientists can model diseases and screen new drugs. Axol is especially excited about their hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neuron Progenitors; with their research partners having demonstrated that they can be used for in vitro models of human nociception, which could be used to make scientific breakthroughs and develop new therapeutics.
After five weeks in culture, Axol hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons express sensory neural markers that are relevant to human pain perception (TRPV1, TRPA1 and Nav 1.7).
A Viable Model of Human Pain Perception
Recent research by Axol’s researcher partners involved them culturing the hiPSC-Derived Sensory Progenitors in a Sensory Neuron Maintenance Medium on 64-channel multi-electrode array (MEA) chips with a variety of coating reagents. This research used Axol’s ‘Human iPSC-Derived Sensory Neuron Progenitors’ method to carry out the culturing correctly and used Axol’s guidelines on using an MEA system to carry out the process.
Following two days of culturing the medium was switched for a mitomycin-C containing Sensory Neuron Maintenance Medium, which had the effect of killing the non-neuronal cells present. The cells were then kept in a maintenance medium that contained growth factors (BDNF, GDNF, NGF and NT-3) for at least six weeks, with replacement of the media taking place every 3-4 days.
Following 33 days of culturing the mature hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons were found to be firing spontaneously, emulating their in vivo behavior. In addition, immunofluorescent imaging showed that after 5 weeks in vitro the neurons were expressing sensory neural markers that correspond to pain reception (TRPA1, TRPV1 and Nav 1.7)
It was also found that after just two weeks the hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons displayed enhanced firing rates at higher temperatures (°C) as well as changes in firing rates when exposed to different concentrations of three different types of chemical stimuli (menthol, capsaicin, wasabi (AITC)). The varying responses of the neurons allowed the researchers to classify the neurons into 27 different types.
All of these results demonstrate with confidence that Axol’s hiPSC-Derived Sensory Neurons effectively emulate the behavior and firing activity of human neurons in vivo, providing researchers with a usable in vitro model of human nociception.
Researchers that replace their animal-derived in vitro models with Axol’s more physiologically-relevant human-derived in vitro model will be empowered to carry out research at the forefront of cell biology, and could use their research to develop novel drugs that will help stop the suffering of the millions of individuals who have pain disorders around the globe.
About AXOL Biosciences
Axol specializes in human cell culture.
Axol produces high quality human cell products and critical reagents such as media and growth supplements. We have a passion for great science, delivering epic support and innovating future products to help our customers advance faster in their research.
Our expertise includes reprogramming cells to iPSCs and then differentiating to various cell types. We supply differentiated cells derived from healthy donors and patients of specific disease backgrounds. As a service, we also take cells provided by customers (primary or iPSC) and then do the reprogramming (when necessary) and differentiation. Clearly, by offloading the burden of generating cells, your time is freed up to focus on the research. Axol holds the necessary licenses that are required to do iPSC work.
The package wouldn't be complete without optimized media, coating solutions and other reagents. Our in-house R&D team works hard to improve on existing media and reagents as well as innovate new products for human cell culture. We also supply a growing range of human primary cells; making Axol your first port of call for your human cell culture needs.
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