The nanoelectronics research centre imec and Peira, a Belgium-based manufacturer of pharmaceutical and chemical research instruments, jointly developed an innovative slice-tilting instrument for in-vitro research on brain tissue. The new tool enables long-term studying of brain cultures through electronic stimulation and read-out, essential in getting insight into the functioning of the brain.
To increase our knowledge on neuronal networks, on how our brain works, and on the cellular processes causing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, brain tissue slices need to be investigated for a longer time. To keep brain tissue slices alive to study long-term effects in neuronal circuits, the slices have to be cultured. They have to attach to a substrate and start growing. Such a brain tissue culturing procedure is as a very difficult and precise manipulation, and it is believed to be one of the most challenging cultures known in the medical world.
imec has developed together with Peira, a custom slice-tilting device containing up to 16 chips with stimulation and read-out electronics, especially customized to grow brain slice tissue on. The tilting device is fully incorporated in a cell growth incubator. Parameters such as tilting angle, speed and interval time can be programmed to obtain optimal growth, survival and functionality of the brain slice. The new tool ensures optimal growth of brain slices on the chips for more than a month. It enables in-vitro investigation of long-term processes in brain circuits.
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