Inhibition of neuronal cell–cell adhesion measured by the microscopic aggregation assay and impedance sensing

Remy Wiertz, Enrico Marani, Wim Rutten

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    Microscopic aggregation assay and impedance sensing (IS) were used to monitor a change in in vitro neuron–neuron adhesion in response to blocking of cell adhesion molecules. By blocking neuron–neuron adhesion, migration and aggregation of neuronal cells can be inhibited. This leads to better control of spatial arrangement of cells in culture. In the literature N-CAM, L1 and N-cadherin proteins are pointed out as main regulators of neuronal adhesion. In this study, these three main cell adhesion molecules were used to inhibit neuron-to-neuron adhesion and aggregation. Both soluble extracellular domains and antigen antibodies were added to these adhesion molecules. They were investigated for their blocking ability in neuronal cultures. First, in a 96 h aggregation assay on a low-adhesive substrate, the effect of inhibition of the three proteins on aggregation of cortical neurons was investigated optically. Both L1 antibody and L1 protein had no effect on the degree of aggregation. An N-cadherin antibody however was shown to be effective in aggregation inhibition at concentrations of 1 and 3 µg ml−1. Up to 96 h no aggregation occurred. A similar effect was achieved by the N-cadherin protein, although less distinct. N-CAM blocking revealed no inhibition of aggregation. Second, results from IS corresponded to those of the aggregation assays. In these experiments neuron–neuron adhesion was also inhibited by blocking N-CAM L1 and N-cadherin. Cortical neurons were cultured in small wells containing circular 100 µm diameter gold electrodes, so small changes in cell–cell interactions in monolayers of neurons could be monitored by IS. Impedances of neuron-covered electrodes were significantly lower in the presence of the N-cadherin antibody and protein at concentrations of 1, 3 and 10 µg ml−1, indicating a less profound binding between adjacent neurons. Results from the aggregation assays and impedance measurements demonstrate the applicability of blocking cell adhesion molecules for inhibition of cell–cell adhesion and aggregation.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)056003
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of neural engineering
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


    • EWI-18906
    • BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
    • Microscopic aggregation assay
    • IR-72962
    • cell–cell adhesion
    • METIS-271152
    • impedance sensing

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