Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 767 Views Nov 20, 2023

This paper presents versatile protocols to prepare primary human Schwann cell (hSC) cultures from mature peripheral nervous system tissues, including fascicles from long spinal nerves, nerve roots, and ganglia. This protocol starts with a description of nerve tissue procurement, handling, and dissection to obtain tissue sections suitable for hSC isolation and culturing. A description follows on how to disintegrate the nerve tissue by delayed enzymatic dissociation, plate the initial cell suspensions on a two-dimensional substrate, and culture the primary hSCs. Each section contains detailed procedures, technical notes, and background information to aid investigators in understanding and managing all steps. Some general recommendations are made to optimize the recovery, growth, and purity of the hSC cultures irrespective of the tissue source. These recommendations include: (1) pre-culturing epineurium- and perineurium-free nerve fascicles under conditions of adherence or suspension depending on the size of the explants to facilitate the release of proliferative, in vitro–activated hSCs; (2) plating the initial cell suspensions as individual droplets on a laminin-coated substrate to expedite cell adhesion and thereby increase the recovery of viable cells; and (3) culturing the fascicles (pre-degeneration step) and the cells derived therefrom in mitogen- and serum-supplemented medium to accelerate hSC dedifferentiation and promote mitogenesis before and after tissue dissociation, respectively. The hSC cultures obtained as suggested in this protocol are suitable for assorted basic and translational research applications. With the appropriate adaptations, donor-relevant hSC cultures can be prepared using fresh or postmortem tissue biospecimens of a wide range of types and sizes.

0 Q&A 508 Views Nov 20, 2023

This paper introduces simple analytical methods and bioassays to promptly assess the identity and function of in vitro cultured human Schwann cells (hSCs). A systematic approach is proposed to unequivocally discriminate hSCs from other glial cells, non-glial cells, and non-human SCs (authentication), identify hSCs at different stages of differentiation, and determine whether individual hSCs are proliferative or senescent. Examples of how to use distinct cell-based approaches for quality control and routine troubleshooting are provided to confirm the constitution (identity, purity, and heterogeneity) and potency (bioactivity) of hSC cultures from multiple sources. The bioassays are valuable for rapidly gauging the responses of hSCs to mitogenic and differentiating factors and ascertaining the cells’ basic properties before performing co-culture or cell grafting studies. The assays are image based and use adherent hSCs established in monoculture to simplify the experimental setup and interpretation of results. Finally, all sections contain thorough background information, notes, and references to facilitate decision making, data interpretation, and ad hoc method development for diverse applications.

0 Q&A 429 Views Nov 20, 2023

This manuscript describes step-by-step procedures to establish and manage fresh and cryopreserved cultures of nerve-derived human Schwann cells (hSCs) at the desired scale. Adaptable protocols are provided to propagate hSC cultures through serial passaging and perform routine manipulations such as enzymatic dissociation, purification, cryogenic preservation, live-cell labeling, and gene delivery. Expanded hSCs cultures are metabolically active, proliferative, and phenotypically stable for at least three consecutive passages. Cell yields are expected to be variable as determined by the rate of growth of individual batches and the rounds of subculture. The purity, however, can be maintained high at >95% hSC regardless of passage. The cells obtained in this manner are suitable for various applications, including small drug screens, in vitro modeling of neurodevelopmental processes, and cell transplantation. One caveat of this protocol is that continued expansion of same-batch hSC populations is eventually restricted due to senescence-linked growth arrest.

0 Q&A 623 Views Mar 5, 2023

In the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells are the primary type of glia. This protocol describes an in vitro differentiation and dedifferentiation system for rat Schwann cells. These cultures and systems can be used to investigate the morphological and biochemical effects of pharmacological intervention or lentivirus-mediated gene transfer on the process of Schwann cell differentiation or dedifferentiation.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 2359 Views Jun 20, 2021

The function of neurons in afferent reception, integration, and generation of electrical activity relies on their strikingly polarized organization, characterized by distinct membrane domains. These domains have different compositions resulting from a combination of selective targeting and retention of membrane proteins. In neurons, most proteins are delivered from their site of synthesis in the soma to the axon via anterograde vesicular transport and undergo retrograde transport for redistribution and/or lysosomal degradation. A key question is whether proteins destined for the same domain are transported in separate vesicles for local assembly or whether these proteins are pre-assembled and co-transported in the same vesicles for delivery to their cognate domains. To assess the content of transport vesicles, one strategy relies on staining of sciatic nerves after ligation, which drives the accumulation of anterogradely and retrogradely transported vesicles on the proximal and distal side of the ligature, respectively. This approach may not permit confident assessment of the nature of the intracellular vesicles identified by staining, and analysis is limited to the availability of suitable antibodies. Here, we use dual color live imaging of proteins labeled with different fluorescent tags, visualizing anterograde and retrograde axonal transport of several proteins simultaneously. These proteins were expressed in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons cultured alone or with Schwann cells under myelinating conditions to assess whether glial cells modify the patterns of axonal transport. Advantages of this protocol are the dynamic identification of transport vesicles and characterization of their content for various proteins that is not limited by available antibodies.

0 Q&A 11656 Views Oct 20, 2017
Primary cultured Schwann cells (SCs) are widely used in the investigation of the biology of SC and are important seed cells for neural tissue engineering. Here, we describe a novel protocol for harvesting primary cultured SCs from neonatal Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. In the present protocol, dissociated SCs are isolated from the spinal nerves of neonatal rats and purified by the treatment of cytosine arabinoside (AraC).

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