Neuronal Plasticity can be defined as the ability of the nervous system to change structure, function and organization of neurons in response to new experiences, emerging from changes of developmental and environmental situations, as well as other factors (e.g. injuries) affecting the conditions of the nervous system or the whole organism. Neuronal plasticity such as Neurogenesis, Synaptogenesis and Neurite Outgrowth once thought to occur mainly during development has now been recognized as key features of adult brain function.
The balance between neurogenesis and cell death plays a critical role not only in the embryonic brain development but also in the maintenance of the adult brain. Alterations in these processes are seen in many neurodegenerative diseases. The hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory, is especially vulnerable to damage at early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Emerging evidence has indicated that compromised neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus represents an early critical event in the course of AD. For this purpose, QPS Austria provides a cell culture model to assess effects of your developmental compound on neurogenesis of hippocampal neurons.
Synapse formation but especially the synaptic maintenance (synaptogenesis) is critical for neuronal health and disease. Loss of synaptic maintenance is not only restricted to AD. Defects in synaptic maintenance most likely also contribute to the synaptic vulnerability in other neurodegenerative disorders as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s or Niemann Pick disease. A therapeutic strategy that favors synaptic maintenance may be a beneficial target for many neurodegenerative diseases. For this purpose, QPS Austria provides a cell culture model to assess effects of your developmental compound on synaptogenesis primary hippocampal neurons.
During development, neurons become assembled into functional networks by growing out axons and dendrites (collectively neurite outgrowth) that connect synaptically to other neurons. Strikingly, neurons retain their capacity for growth and synapse formation in the adult brain. Only those neurons that manage to establish adequate contacts with neighbor cells escape cell death. To stimulate and accelerate neurite outgrowth is thus important for restoring neuronal function after injury or from neurodegenerative diseases. A promising strategy for drugs targeted against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is promoting the regeneration of neurons. Thus, new therapies are focusing on identifying new molecules that affect neurite outgrowth. For this purpose, QPS Austria provides cell culture models to assess the neurotrophic effects of your developmental compounds.
Neurite Outgrowth Solution 1
- number of neurites
- total length of neurites
- length of the longest neurite
Figure: Effects of Compound X and reference item (RI) on neurite outgrowth of primary rat hippocampal neurons.