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In Vitro Cortical Networks for Disease Modeling and Drug Evaluation

Description: In translational research, disease models in preclinical studies are used as media for discovery of drugs or novel therapeutics. Development of in vitro models for various neurological diseases that enable efficient pharmacological or toxicological screening has been ongoing but challenging. Recognizing the potential benefit of in vitro disease models, dysfunctions in the cortical neuronal networks were induced to mimic the functional pathology of neurological symptoms using microelectrode arrays. Two different disease states – tinnitusand excitotoxicity – were investigated and discussed. In this model, pentylenetetrazol-induced increase in spontaneous firing rate and synchrony in the auditory cortical networks was used as correlate of tinnitus. Potential tinnitus treatment drugs from several different classes – including the novel class of potassium channel openers – were screened and quantified. The potentialtherapeutic values of these drugs were also discussed as the basis for drug repurposing. Functional excitotoxicity was induced by cisplatin (a cancer drug that causes neurological sideeffects) and glutamate (the major excitatory neurotransmitter). As proof-of-principle that the model may contribute to expediting the development of therapeutics, cisplatin excitotoxicity wasprevented by the antioxidant D-methionine, while glutamate excitotoxicity was prevented by ceftriaxone (a modulator of a glutamate reuptake transporter). In the latter part of the study, with results linking two of the screened drugs L-carnitine and D-methionine to GABAA receptor activation, it was demonstrated that this model not only served as an efficient drug-screening platform, but can be utilized to functionally investigate the underlying mechanism of drugs. Inaddition, several practical or conceptual directions for future studies to improve on this in vitro disease model are suggested.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Wu, Calvin
Partner: UNT Libraries